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Bloody goat...

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So I can't delete the auto-transcription below. Silly Livejournal.

A meme...

I rattled these answers off very quickly as voice posts can only go a minute on UK access numbers at present.

VoicePost
166K 0:56
“1 with ___. 2 Scott Town Ohio. 3 Ant or Ant depending on mood, roof, route wash oil, theatre, iron, salmon, caramel, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, New Orleans, pecan, both, again probably splitting image, Alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, syrup, pyjamas, cot, orange, coffee, direction, naturally, illumine, herbs. 4 tee peeing. 5 that'd be soda. 6 sneakers or tennis shoes. 7 hey guys. 8 Daddy long leg. 9 mellow and peppo(?) or nanny and papa. 10 that'd be a buggy. 11 I have no clue and 12 that's a remote. Bye bye.”

Auto-Transcribed Voice Post - spoken through SpinVox


Leave a voice post in your journal answering the following questions:

1. What's your name/username?
2. Where are you from?
3. Say the following words: aunt, roof, route, wash, oil, theater, iron, salmon, caramel, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, New Orleans, pecan, both, again, probably, spitting image, Alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, syrup, pajamas, caught, orange, coffee, direction, naturally, aluminum, herbs.
4. What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
5. What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
6. What do you call gym shoes?
7. What do you say to address a group of people?
8. What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
9. What do you call your grandparents?
10. What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
11. What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
12. What is the thing you change the TV channel with?
Been tired a lot since starting the new job... Will post something soon.

In the meantime, the job's going great and I'm loving it. It's nice to go in someplace and feel valued again.
It's been a fairly busy couple of weeks. By my standards anyway...

I had another job interview on Wednesday last week. This time at the Institute of Education. I wasn't completely decided whether I would take the job and drop the other one if it were offered, but fortunately that decision has now been taken out of my hands. I'm told that I did very well in the interview, was their reserve choice and was just slightly edged out by someone with proper human resources experience which was a desirable for the job. So I'm happy with that. It makes me far more optimistic about being able to transition into a higher education post at some point in the future.

And Thursday night Allie and I went out for a lovely gluten-free dinner at Leon. It was my treat to say thank you for putting up with me whilst I was trying to find a job and for patiently helping me with the application. The whole process was a bit painful for me, but it's one more example of how we make a great team. Allie, good at writing very professional, concise applications. Me, good at interviews. :o)

On Friday I had a visit from a nurse who showed me how to inject myself with Humira. It was a bit painful, but certainly not unbearable. I certainly think I can manage to do it every two weeks if it's going to help. *fingers crossed*

Last night Bill and Nat came over. We watched the second half of a Dr Who two-parter featuring the return of the Silurians, watched Eurovision 2010 (a cutie from Germany won) and had too much wine. We also had sausages and chips and I made up some Doritos with melted cheese which I've not had in years and years. Overall a good night!

Most of the rest of my notes from the past couple of weeks don't need to be in any real order.

I was excited to receive this month's copy of Mojo. They had Tom Waits in as guest editor and there's stuff related to him all though the magazine including a piece where he interviews Hank Williams III and a CD of songs that influcenced Tom compiled by the man himself . Pretty groovy and a happy surprise when it dropped though our mailslot.

Allie and I went to another event at the British Library a week or two back, this time with Bill. It was another in a series on anti-Americanism and the speaker at this one was Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins. It was pretty interesting overall, but Jenkins seemed a little more optimistic about America's place in the world than I am. The podcast runs about 45 minutes if anyone's interested in listening.

I played the second episode of the new Sam & Max season last week. Titled The Tomb of Sammun-Mak, this episode was played out in the roles of Sam & Max's great-grandfathers Sameth and Maximus and was completely non-linear as the story was told through changeable film reels. Personally I thought it was one of the best episodes they've done yet and it's left me really looking forward to the rest of this season.

Speaking of silent films... I went to the PCC a couple weeks back to see The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. The film was presented with a live modern rescoring by Minima and the audience (including myself) really loved it. I've also watched Lon Chaney's Hunchback of Notre Dame and plan to watch Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde soon. I really must get those back to my ex-teacher soon. :o)

On the reading front... I learned that Sky is doing a mini-series adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Going Postal. As I had a copy of the novel and hadn't read it yet I decided to give it a quick read before show came out despite it messing up my reading the books in sequence. It probably wasn't the best of Pratchett's novels, but it was still really enjoyable and I'm kinda looking forward to seeing some of the characters again when I get back around to reading the follow-up, Making Money. I've also managed to read the second half of DC's New Frontier which was highly enjoyable and a short story called The Yellow Wallpaper which was very creepy and which I'd like to track down the BBC TV adaptation of.

And, finally, I'd like to say congratulations to my little sister on both turning 30 and for getting engaged. When I heard she was taking a trip to Disney World for her birthday I didn't expect this to be the result, but I'm very happy for both her and Todd. The wedding's still probably a couple/few years off, but it's something to look forward to... :o)

'I have always strived to serve...'

This has been an odd kind of day.

I've been out to meet Allie to pick up some bank statements that might help us get housing support. I've had a phone call telling me that I've been granted the arthritis drugs my doctor wants me to have and that they will be delivered on Friday. Gordon Brown has resigned and the Lib Dems and Conservatives have confirmed a coalition making David Cameron our new PM. And, this morning, I was offered a job that I'm not sure I want.

The job is a part-time admin post one that I interviewed for yesterday at a disability charity. I thought it was going to be quite good until I actually attended the interview and found that one of the people that I would be working under is really quite prickly in person. Plus they don't really seem that willing to try to work with me around my health issues which is both surprising and disappointing. I had decided after Gingerbread to give up on charities, but I thought it anyone would understand and be flexible it would be a disability charity. That doesn't appear to be the case. But then Gingerbread wasn't that great at being flexible for their single parents either so I guess it's par for the course. I have another short meeting with the people at this charity tomorrow afternoon to discuss my issues further and will decide by the end of the day whether I'll be taking it. I suspect I won't, but you never know. The main thing I'm afraid of it ending up going through something like I went through at GB again. I just don't think I could handle that. And at least if I do pass on this I have another interview lined up for next week.

The phone call about the drugs this afternoon was a complete surprise. I had an inkling of an idea that they had been approved, but I've not heard a thing from the hospital about it and didn't know when I would be starting on them. The call today said they're being delivered to me on Friday and I need to arrange an appointment for them to show me how to inject myself. I'm not to pleased about the last part, but if it helps to alleviate some of my pain then I'll get used to it. I'm also a bit confused about why the lady on the phone said they were sending Enbrel when I was under the impression that my rheumatologist had put me forward for Humira. Either way I'm hoping it'll do the trick.

And, finally, the politics. Things really seemed to happen fast today. Yesterday afternoon I saw that Gordon Brown had announced he would resign by September in the hopes of helping to cement some sort of deal with the Lib Dems. Then, this evening, we started hearing that he was resigning now and that the Tories and Lib Dems had reached a deal. So... Gordon Brown has now left politics (I'll miss him) and we have a new prime minister. In light of the hung parliament I would have liked for the Lib Dems and Labour to have reached some kind of deal to form a progressive coalition government. The problem with that would have been that it would all be very unstable as together they still didn't have enough seats to have a majority and would have needed support from the fringe parties. Also, there might not have been public support as the Tories had a bigger share of the vote. So... I suppose what he have is my second preference with the Libs Dems tempering the right wing tendencies of the Tories. Time will tell how much they'll be of help, but I suppose at least they should scrap Labour's harebrained ID card scheme amongst their other cuts. Silver linings and all that.

'Your sister is a suck monkey!' (Part II)

Carrying on...

On the TV front Allie and I finished off the third season of Mad Men recently which was brilliant. The final episode of the season was possibly one of the finest episodes yet. We've also watched the mini-series The Camomile Lawn which was nicely diverting up until the final episode an we've started on season four of The Wire. I've been keeping up on the current season of Dr Who so far, too, which has been top-notch so far apart from one minor blip of an episode.

In films we've watched Electric Dreams which was pretty exciting for me as I'd not seen the film in many, many years and it was a childhood favourite of mine. I've also been out to the PCC to see Battle Royale which I thought was fantastically bloody. And, finally, Nat and Bill came over this past Sunday and we had a Lost Boys day by watching the two films back to back. None of us had seen the second one, Lost Boys: The Tribe, and I'm not sure how quick any of us will be to watch it again. It was mildly entertaining though and I enjoyed seeing Corey Feldman hamming it up as Edgar Frog again. He really was the best thing about the film... :o)

Whilst I'm on the subject of film... I started a night class last Monday about the history of American cinema. When I got there it was just myself, three other students and the instructor and we had a really great talk about the early film industry, followed by a drink down at the pub afterward. I was really looking forward to the class to get me out of the house and give me something to focus some of my mental energy on, but at the end of last week I had a letter saying that the class had been cancelled due to low registration numbers. I was really looking forward to the class and having many more discussions like the one last week so I'm sorely disappointed by this turn of events. I should really look into finding another one in the fall...

Allie and I have been out to a couple of events together over the past several weeks. One was a conference about pub history at the British Library which I forgot to mention in my last post. That was on our anniversary and was a lot of fun as it focussed on the social aspects of pubs historically and currently. We've also been to talks about early maps and the beginning of globalisation and about anti-Americanism at the BL. And, finally, we went to a play called Oscar's World which was mildly entertaining and just a bit depressing.

On the reading front I've more or less been working my way through more graphic novels (Batman: Year One, Superman: Kryptonite, Runaways, Best of Tharg's Future Shocks, Neil Gaiman's Dangerous Alphabet) and one novel (Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years). I was particularly entertained by the latter as it's the first Adrian Mole diary that has been published covering a period that I've lived in the UK for the whole of so the series how now gone from a learning tool for me to being something I can read and say 'Hey, I remember that!'. I can't say I ever expected to be able to say that when my friend Dana sent me the first one as a birthday present way back in the mid-90s. :o)

Hmmm... Let's see... We had Nat over to visit one Saturday evening and had dinner, a nice long chat and a browse through some of her pictures from her recent hike of the Inca trail. Seeing those photos reminded me why I used to be so fascinated by South America and has renewed my interest in visiting there someday. I may not be the archaeologist I wanted to be, but that's no reason not to check it out at some point!

Cooking. We've done some cooking. We've tried making a seafood paella for the first time which turned out really nicely. We've started making frittatas which are also really nice and which Allie has surprised me by liking as it's very eggy. She's trying new egg dishes as she's lost so many foods she can eat recently. And, of most significance, Allie helped my gluten free diet by pulling together the ingredients and making a great big pot of chilli just for me. I don't get chilli very often as she doesn't eat it and I can't be bothered making it just for myself, so I feel really special when she says we should make some. I had a big bowl of it this afternoon with some toasted peanut butter sandwiches. Yummy bliss! :o)

I've been using Skype a lot lately which I've really come to enjoy. I've not been very good at keeping in touch with family on the phone over the past few years as I just don't like phones that much, but Skype has been great. It's just so easy to have it on when the computer boots up and give people a ring when they're online. I've been wanting to do it for years, but there was very little point as there was no broadband in the wilds of Scottown, but now that that's changed I expect we'll all be in touch a lot better. And the ability to conference call and use high quality video is all the better!

Allie and I have been watching the recent political debates/race here with interest and are staying up tonight to watch the results. Neither of us are keen to see a Tory government take power in any way, but it's looking like that's what's going to happen. I can't imagine that Labour have much of a chance anymore after thirteen years of cocking things up on the economy and the war. I think the best we can do now is hope for a hung parliament (which is looking likely) which will force a power sharing deal between the Tories and the Lib Dems. At least that way the Tories might have to temper some of their more right-wing policies. We shall see in the morning which way it's gone...

Just to leave you with a laugh, have a look at this video of Jon Stewart mocking the mildness of the election race.

Sleep violence (edited)

I wrote this in the very early hours of this morning as a private post, but thought I would share some of it with the rest of you. Anybody else known anyone to do this kind of thing?

--------------------------------------------------------

I've finally gone and done it... I've hit Allie in my sleep. To be honest I've been waiting for it to happen for some time, ever since I first swung out in my sleep trying to swat an imaginary bee. Things seem to have just progressed from there over the past few months with me punching various things like the books on the bedside table and the wall. It was just a matter of time before I managed to wallop Allie.

I was dreaming and had no idea she was there. Fortunately it was just a glancing blow to the forehead and she managed to get her hands up to stop me on the next swing, but... It still bothers me even if it wasn't my fault. The whole thing is very curious. I've always been a vivid dreamer, but ever since I started counselling last autumn I've started shouting in my sleep (at Mother and at God and in terror) and acting out physically in my sleep (at bees, at Allie and Da). Is this all because my mind has been stirred up by the counselling, is it a side effect of my anti-depressants or is there some other sleep disorder going on here? I'm already aware of having restless legs and night sweats and both of my parents have sleep apnoea, so a sleep disorder wouldn't surprise me.

I've found some interesting information online where people have been looking into connections between anti-depressants and sleep violence, but so far nothing's been proven. It's been suggested that some types of meds mess with REM sleep though and shut off the body's self-paralysis when it's in this sleep mode allowing dreams to be acted out. It seems relatively plausible to me, but I don't know that there will be any answers forthcoming as we really know so little about what the body does at night.

Perhaps I should talk to the doctor? I'm concerned about going off Citalopram as it's really worked for me if that's not the reason. It would be a shame to switch to something that might not work as well if I'm going to have the stress of a new job soon. I'm of the opinion that I just need further counselling to work through some of the issues that are bothering me. I feel like if I could lay those to rest - anger and frustration with my parents, my own inadequacies, etc - I might be able to sleep a little easier. If, of course, it's not some other unrelated sleep disorder completely unrelated to my other stresses and anxieties.

I just don't know. It's all so confusing and a bit scary.

Tags:

'Your sister is a suck monkey!' (Part I)

I keep meaning up to update this thing more regularly, but somehow it keeps getting away from me... This post has grown pretty big so I think I'll post it in two parts.

I suppose one of the biggest things was going to Bridlington in Yorkshire for Katie and David's wedding the weekend before last. I had to rest quite a bit that weekend due to my arthritis flaring up, but overall it was pretty lovely and Katie looked gorgeous in her wedding dress. As did Allie and Nat in their bridesmaid dresses. Away from the wedding, I spent quite a lot of time that weekend staring out to sea (just outside our hotel), gorging myself and just taking in the environment. I really enjoyed seeing Lewis Carroll's nephew's gravestone and exploring the tacky seaside resort aspects of the town on the last day as well. :o)

Liam & Allie



The week before the wedding I had a couple nice long chats with ex-colleagues which I really enjoyed. The first was in Ladbroke Grove with Louisa who was at Gingerbread for the first two years I was there. We'd not seen each other since 2008 so it was really nice to catch up. We had a long talk about (amongst other things) her child counselling career and she made some useful suggestions for me in my quest for counselling. The second was with nessreader who I used to work with at the bookshop. We last saw each other in, I think, 2007 and it was good catching up with her as she's a great conversationalist and always a joy to spend time with. It was also nicely convenient as she was visiting Willesden Green at the time so we just met up in a café across the road from our flat. During our chat she very kindly gave me the t-shirt that I'm modelling below, too, which I loved! We really mustn't leave it so long next time.

Ta-dah!


Let's see... The job hunt's been going okay. I've had a couple appointments with the JobCentre to go jump through various hoops and they seem happy enough with my progress. I've also submitted a few applications and now have two interviews coming up for part-time posts with the Institute of Education and Disability Action in Islington. Both look like decent jobs and I think I would be happy in either.

Health's been up and down as usual. I had to go in for TB tests and chest x-rays to make sure I don't have that before going on my anti-TNF drugs won't cause any latent TB to go mad. And (surprise, surprise!) it won't as I don't have TB. Good to know, I guess. Now I just have to wait for my drugs... I have high hopes for what they'll be able to do for me, but I'm still trying to temper those hopes as nothing has really worked that well for me so far. I just want to be out of this constant pain and get back to some sense of normalcy.

Last Monday I joined Allie on her gluten-free diet for two months. I tested negative in the blood tests of coeliac disease back in January, but I figured (after nudging from Allie) that it's worth a shot to cut out gluten for a while and see if it has any effect on my arthritis or tiredness. So far I don't feel much different, but the true test will come when I start eating gluten again in a couple months. Hopefully the change won't be that drastic as I'm a bread addict and I'm not sure I could live my life without real ale either...

I'm also playing the waiting game with counselling at the moment, largely due to the unprofessional, condescending asshole of a psychiatrist who does the assessments for the Brent Mental Health Liaison service. A few months back he recommended that I go on a drug that's licensed in the US as an anti-depressant, but is only licensed here as a smoking cessation aid. I didn't really feel like I needed any more drugs and just needed to be able to talk through some issues. When I went to see my GP about this she expressed concern about the drug not being licensed here as an anti-depressant here and we decided I should just stick with Celexa. When the psychiatrist heard about this he told me that he thought people concerned about whether it was licensed in the UK for mental health uses were 'fucking morons' and started suggesting that if I didn't need that drug then I probably didn't need further counselling or CBT. I eventually talked him around to letting me go ahead with CBT (not my first choice!), but have also let my GPs office know what he had to say. Personally, I worry that this guy is let anywhere near people who have more serious mental health issues and it's arrogant schmucks like him that put me off counselling for over fifteen years in the first place.

Right... I think that's enough for now. More to come tomorrow!

Oh my...

Tags:

In the past couple weeks...

I've been to see my reheumatologist again. She's suggested putting me on adalimumab. If we can get approval for it I'll be starting it in the next couple months. On the one hand I'm a little disappointed to be giving up on disease modifying drugs and changing to something that just kinda keeps it in check, but I'm willing to do anything that will keep me from being in the kind of pain I've been in recently.

I've also been hanging around JobCentres and our local council's One Stop Shop quite a bit in the past couple weeks. I'm not thrilled about either as I find it a little bit humiliating, but I'm doing as needs must to get a few benefits whilst I'm off work. We're not going to get much help on rent, but my unemployment's a helpful enough amount. Hopefully it's not something I'll have to be on for long though. I've already submitted one application and I'm working on another at the moment. It's probably going to be luck of the draw getting something, but there do seem to be enough jobs out there at the moment.

On the plus side financially I'm pleased to say that we've finally paid off my student loans. When I took them out in 1999 I knew it would take me a while to knock down $16,000 (plus interest), but it's not taken nearly as long as I thought it would as it's been a lot easier to do from the UK with the pound being relatively strong. I also have to thank Allie for focussing us on saving to get rid of it over the past couple of years. I'm always a bit hesitant about paying off large chunks at once, but I think it was for the best and now can both breathe a little easier.

Allie and had a lovely Easter weekend together. It was mostly pretty quiet with the best days being Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday Allie and I repotted a bunch of plants, watched most of A Passage to India and made a surprisingly delicious gluten free vanilla cake courtesy of Ms Betty Crocker, using a mix we picked up in the States in December. On Sunday Bill came over around the time I got back from church and Allie cooked a very tasty lunch of roast lamb (with garlic and rosemary) and veggies. We watched the first episode of the new Dr Who that afternoon (loved it!) and watched Pygmalion whist working through a bottle of cider.

Apart from working on job applications and doing various bits of housework in the past couple weeks I've also been keeping myself entertained. Plenty of comic books including the first volume of DC's New Frontier, more Bone, Escape from Bizazarro World which I only enjoyed the first story from, three volumes of DC's 52 and I still have a stack more to get through. So far my favourite of everthing I've ready lately has still been Bone.

I've also seen a few movies lately. Apart from Passage to India which we finished last night, I've also been to the PCC to see Ponyo (not Miyazaki's best, but still teriffic!), Nowhere Boy (also terrific) and 2001: A Space Odyssey. I was probably most excited to see the latter as it's been a favourite of mine for years and I'd never seen it on the big screen. Fortunately the PCC managed to get hold of a print that was pretty much pristine and it played to a sold out house. Unfortunately, I was exhausted that night and was a dozing in and out a bit through parts of the trip out to Jupiter. However, I was fully awake again just after HAL killed Frank Poole though and appreciated the Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite freakout in a way that I never have before... :o)

Also in the past two weeks I've participated in Half-Life online gaming nights with my friends. It's been a while since I done that since they tend to start a bit later than I like to be up due to the time difference, but I managed it twice in a week and it was as much fun as ever. Especially the second night when I was described as 'death on wheels'. I'm still trying (and failing) to get a server set up myself so Da and I can play 1-on-1 and really need to sit myself down to figure out what the problem is. :o)

And, finally, this past Wednesday Allie and I went out to the pub to celebrate paying my loan. I'd forgotten that Wetherspoon's was starting an ale festival this week so I was pleasantly surprised when we got there. I tried one 'coconut porter' which I liked the sound of, but came close to spitting it out on the first sip. I usually love porters so more's the pity. I drank it anyway though. My other three choices, Stickle Pike, Zulu Blonde and a cider called Old Rascal were all really nice though.

Right... Off to Open House now. Naughty man is running way late. :op

It's been a long couple of months. I've written bits and pieces of posts off and on, but most of it's come to nothing. So I think I'm just gonna hit the highlights. Work will be another post entirely.

Allie and I spent New Year's Eve at home with Nat and Bill. It's hard to believe it's 2010 already. I can't wait until Jupiter transforms into a star later this year.

Since New Year...

Health: I've been to see both the rheumatologist, the POTS specialist, lung specialists and the Mental Health Liaison Service. Rheumatology's not been much help apart from giving me an ultrasound guided steroid injection into my right ankle. The POTS specialist is trying to get me an appointment with a hypermobility specialist, but so far I've heard nothing. The lung specialists checked me over for any problems as I'd been a bit short of breath, but found nothing. And the Mental Health Liaison Service are being spectacularly useless by not communicating well with either my doctor or myself and wanting to send me for CBT which my counsellor and I think would be less helpful than psychotherapy. I have another rheumatology appointment this week and I'm curious about what they might have in store for me next. And, finally, I also had a blood test for coeliac disease which came out negative.

Allie's health has been a bit up and down recently, too. She had confirmation in the first week of January that she has coeliac disease which has meant major changes in her diet and how we cook. She's not feeling much better yet, despite having cut out gluten, possibly due to secondary intolerances to corn and other foods. It's all been pretty frustrating for her. Before her tests were confirmed we had a couple meals to mark her last times eating gluten. One was a trip to Belgo. I really enjoyed that as there's just something about the combination of mussels, fries with garlic mayo and Belgian beer that makes the stomach smile. The second was a pizza night with Nat and Bill. We ordered in from Papa John's which is something of a rarity for us as it's so expensive, but it's my favourite pizza and we figured if were gonna do have a gluten blow-out we should do it right. Also on the food front, we recently visited the Wing Yip Chinese supermarket which we'd been meaning to do for ages and which was hugely diverting. Amongst the wonders we found there was the ultimate anti-coeliac food, Spicy Fried Gluten.

Events: I've been to several events in the past few months, mostly with Allie, including -

  • A play/reading called The World's Wife which was dramatic readings of poems by Carol Ann Duffy about the wives of famous historical figures

  • A pantomime of Jack and the Beanstalk. I've lived here long enough to be familiar with some of the conventions of panto like pantomime dames and shouting out various phrases at the actors, but I'd never actually seen one. This one was a bit more modern than they usually are, but I loved every minute of it. But then how could I not given how much I love bad puns? And people throwing candy at me? :o)

  • I've seen two different shows of the touristy variety, both of which thoroughly entertained me. The first was Wicked which I saw with Nat. It strayed too far from the darker themes of the novel and into gushy friendship territory for my liking, but it was still very enjoyable. The second, which I saw with Allie, was... Mamma Mia!. I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I enjoyed it. Perhaps it's because I have a bit of a soft spot for ABBA since I grew up with them being played around the house, or maybe it's just because it wasn't as abysmally bad as I was expecting after our experience with We Will Rock You. :o)

  • In early March we saw Jill Sobule play at the intimate Troubador Club in Earl's Court. Her opener, Erinn Williams, was good enough to pick up one of her EPs, but Sobule was really something special. I'd been wanting to see her live for years and it was well worth waiting. She was clearly a bit nervous but infectiously cheerful and personable and that cheer carried over into the audience and really elevated the night from just a performance into an experience. I hope she doesn't waste any time in coming back to the UK.

  • We've seen two different Alice in Wonderland events at the British Library. The first was The Genius of Alice, tied into the release of the new Tim Burton film. They had someone from the BFI there to screen a newly restored Alice film from 1903, writer Will Self to talk about his impressions of the books, and the actors Michael Sheen and Sir Christoper Lee(!) reading extracts. When Lee started doing a reading of Jabberwocky not fifteen feet from where I was sitting I thought I was going to die of happiness. The other event, Alice Exposed was about the photography of Lewis Carroll and was a bit more academic than the first, but was very very interesting. Allie and I saw the latter on the same day that we went to a fascinating exhibition at the library on 19th century photography and how it developed as an artform and tool.

  • There have also been three events at Allie's library/museum. The first was a talk about the history of Barnard Park in Islington which Allie recently did an exhibition on. The second was a talk by a local councillor about historical crimes in Islington. And, finally, there was a talk by the granddaughter of a Suffragette who had a lot of her grandmother's memorabilia from the suffrage movement. My favourite of the three events was the crime talk, but all were very informative.


Films/TV: We've seen quite a few films in the past few months. I've been out to the PCC to see Brazil, Solaris (1972), The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, and Capitalism: A Love Story. I've enjoyed all of them, but the real thrill for me was getting to see Brazil on the big screen. At home we've also watched The Hangover (hilarious!), Empire Records, Spencer's Mountain and Walk the Line. Coming up I'll be seeing 2001, Ponyo and Nowhere Boy at the PCC as well. At some point soon I also plan to have a mini-festival of classic Universal horror films by watching my way through my new Wolfman and Mummy collections.

On TV we've been busily working our way through Mad Men (S3) which has been every bit as good as the two previous seasons, the ever depressing Brothers & Sisters (S2), Lark Rise to Candleford (S3) which is still maintaining a high saccharine level, a series called The Seven Ages of Britain about looking at the history of Britain through its treasures, and Desperate Housewives (S6) which is more or less, well, Desperate Housewives. I've also been watching masses of Star Trek: TNG and I'm now nearing the end of the fifth season which means things will start going downhill soon.

Reading: Largely I've been attacking various graphic novels. In particular I've really been enjoying the hell out of the Bone series and would recommend them to anyone who enjoys a good humoured fantasy/adventure story. I've also been trying to carry on with my Bible reading, but am still stalling in Psalms. For some reason I just can't seem to get past them. Other than that I've not been reading loads apart from magazine articles and various bits of philosophy books.

Let's see... What else?

My pocket was picked on the bus back in January on the way to Nat's birthday party. The bastards got my travelcard (and my nice travelcard case) and some candles we'd bought for Nat's birthday cupcakes. Not a huge loss, but it was a hassle to replace the card and it still makes me very angry to think about. I hate thieves and have never been able to understand how someone can have that level of disrespect for others.

I've been playing guitar at church more since the new year. I usually skip the singing parts of the service and just show up for intercessory prayers and the sermons which usually start around 11:30. Playing guitar requires me to get there for 10 for warming up which has taken me a little getting used to, but I've really been enjoying it. Moments I've particularly liked were when the pianist cut out a couple weeks ago leaving me playing lead with the whole church singing and last week when I continued playing around after the last song which prompted the drummer to kick in, the pianist to start up again and the singers to run back to the mics for an impromptu jam.

I also bought myself a new MP3 player and some new music to celebrate. I'd been saving up for it for many months and finally broke down and bought it in January. It's a 32GB Sony Walkman X-Series and it's become my new best friend. I've loaded it up was a lot of ambient and jazz/blues material as well as audio dramas, my favourite rock stuff and loads of podcasts. I've particularly been enjoying getting back into listening to This American Life regularly after years away.

Right... I think that's about it. Next up the tale of why I am now unemployed which kinda runs parallel to all of this.

...

Still slowly working on a new post. In the meantime, I wanted to share some lyrics...

Jesus Christ
by Woody Guthrie

Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
A hard-working man and brave
He said to the rich, "Give your money to the poor,"
But they laid Jesus Christ in His grave

Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand
His followers true and brave
One dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
Has laid Jesus Christ in His Grave

He went to the preacher, He went to the sheriff
He told them all the same
"Sell all of your jewelry and give it to the poor,"
And they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

When Jesus come to town, all the working folks around
Believed what he did say
But the bankers and the preachers, they nailed Him on the cross,
And they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

And the people held their breath when they heard about his death
Everybody wondered why
It was the big landlord and the soldiers that they hired
To nail Jesus Christ in the sky

This song was written in New York City
Of rich man, preacher, and slave
If Jesus was to preach what He preached in Galilee,
They would lay poor Jesus in His grave.

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...

Yes, I'm still alive.

No, I've not forgotten this blog.

The short story is that it's been a very trying couple of months, but things are looking up now. Tomorrow is my last day at Gingerbread. Leaving drinks after work and - very likely - much Guinness.

More details to follow this weekend... :o)

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'Santa's coming! I know him! I know him!'

Allie and I had a fantastic time in Ohio last month. Everything was really chilled out and there was more food to eat than we could shake a fork at. It was a two week trip though so I think I'm just gonna cover a few of the highlights here as many of the details could get a bit boring.

A day or two after we arrived we got several inches of snow. I'd been hoping for a good snowstorm whilst we were in so was really happy about this. I just about froze myself solid, but I got a few good pictures out of the day and ended up just having a relaxing time hanging around the house instead of staying on the go.

Allie had her birthday on 22 December. Since I was struggling with arthritis last year and didn't get up until the afternoon, we tried to make it really special this year. We started the day with breakfast at IHOP with Da's family before going shopping at the mall. That evening we went to dinner at Applebee's with Ma and the girls before doing a bit more shopping and going home for cake and ice cream. Allie seemed to really enjoy the day and I loved how much of a fuss everyone made over her. After all she's done this year she certainly deserves it. :o)

The next day Heather, Todd, Allie and I took an overnight trip to Columbus. Allie and I both love Columbus, so we couldn't visit Ohio and pass up a trip to look around. I'm becoming increasingly displeased with the gentrification of the OSU campus, but enjoyed the trip very much regardless. We visited my friend Melinda and her new baby, Used Kids Records (which I missed last time!), the Acorn Bookshop and the Easton shopping centre. We also took a trip down to Reynoldsburg on the way out of town to visit my great-aunt and uncle who were in from Florida for the holidays. It was a real pleasure to see them again as it's been several years.

Keeping with tradition we spent Christmas eve at Da's house opening presents and Christmas morning at Nanny's. It was a real blessing to be there and spend the day with my family for the first time in five years, especially after such a miserable year. We didn't actually do much on Christmas day apart from have turkey and sit around. I think Allie and I played an 'Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?' boardgame and went to Da's in the late evening to hang out.

I watched quite a few films whilst I was over there, starting with Inglorious Basterds on the plane over. I also caught 2012 with Da, The Princess and the Frog with Heather, a Rifftrax special at the cinema with Heather, Todd and Allie, part of Elf which I fell asleep on. I also caught Avatar on IMAX 3D with Heather and Todd and was pretty impressed with the effects despite finding the story derivative.

Other highlights of the trip were playing rummy with Nan (she won as always!), watching my young cousins opening presents, having Chinese with Ma, visiting with my friends Tracy and Donna and meeting Donna's daughter (Maddy), having venison burgers, playing Beatles: Rockband at Da's, going to church with Nan, watching Star Trek with Da, and seeing Courtney reallyamermaid for a goodies exchange. The only thing that I really regret not getting to do is visiting ogrevi as I would have really liked to have met him properly before he moves off to Virginia.

The trip back to London was delightful. I was feeling pretty tired that day so Allie went to the desk (waiting for a very long time!) to see if she could arrange a buggy for me on the end to save me walking. The very kind lady on the desk did us one better and bumped us to business class. I've been in business class for a short flight to Budapest, but never on a trans-Atlantic flight. To put it mildly I wish I could do that every time. It was close to luxury. The food was miles better, alcohol was still free and the seats were so comfortable that I actually managed to sleep for four straight hours between dinner and breakfast. By the time we arrived in London I felt fully rested and ready to go.

And I think I'll leave things there and catch up up things that have happened since our return in my next post...

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'Every second of the night...'

I know I've always been prone to having strange dreams. In recent months I've dreamt that I was taking a tourist trip to the moon with my sister that resulted in watching the Earthrise and singing Moon River in a cafeteria with a group of our fellow travellers. I've also dreamt that Masi Oka (Hiro on Heroes) broke into my mum's house to steal my electronic gadgets before I tackled him and proceeded to demonstrate how I could fly (a common theme in my dreams).

However, over the past six weeks things have taken a bit of a twist. I don't know if it's been my counselling or my antidepressants or what, but... I've started doing weird things in my sleep. I've woken up shouting obscenities, spouting gibberish, screaming in fear, knocking my hand on my bedside table and, once, hitting my thigh so hard the pain took a while to subside. It's really been quite unsettling as I've only ever known myself to wake up from talking in my sleep a couple times in my life. My counsellor didn't seem overly concerned and thinks it's just a result of stirring up my emotions, but Allie, understandably, is a little more worried. Especially when I wake her in the middle of the night. Hmm...

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Wispa got stuck in the door to her house last Tuesday night. We'd been giving her a medicine to stimulate her appetite, but she still wasn't eating and was growing puffier and puffier until that happened. She was clearly becoming very uncomfortable so Allie and I took her to the vet on Wednesday night and had her put down. I hated having to do that, but we both thought it was for the best. There'll be no more pets for a while now, I think.

Wispa takes a spin...

We also got a parcel from reallyamermaid that afternoon. It was packed with Oatmeal Creme Pies, Funyuns and a big bag of candy corn, none of which we've been able to get our hands on over here. Thanks very much for that, Courtney, and if you can think of anything at all you'd like before we come over just let us know!

I started Thursday by watching part of the MST3K episode Teen-Age Strangler on YouTube. Very strange to hear references to places that I know on MST3K. That afternoon I went to the doctor for both the second part of my swine flu vaccination and to get an increased dose of citaloram. Fun, fun.

In the late afternoon/early evening Bill and Nat came over and we cooked Thanksgiving dinner. We went with a couple of turkey thighs this time around with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, steamed baby potatoes, honeyed roast carrots, broccoli and gravy. Nat helped us cook and she made up the pumpkin pie for us this year and it turned out wonderfully. After dinner we settled down with some wine to watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles to close out the evening.

Thursday's flu shot floored me on Friday and I spent the better part of the day asleep in bed or on the couch watching Star Trek or reading The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Lunch, thankfully, was easy with leftovers around and I had turkey and cranberry sauce pitas. That evening I did have a brief visit from my Open House friend, but skipped Open House itself and ended up watching Patrick Stewart's Christmas Carol with Allie.

Allie went out Christmas shopping on Saturday whilst I stayed in playing video games and reading and then, when she came home, we made a curry using cauliflower and leftover turkey. In the evening we went to Nat's. We'd planned to watch one of Bill's French films, but ended up watching the 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much. I also enjoyed some fries and a nice greasy lamb kebab for the first time in ages. Mmm... Oh, and Nat made brownies. Delicious, chocolatey pecan brownies made from scratch. Allie and I must try making brownies sometime.

And today. Went to church. Slept a lot. And not much else. Allie made a lovely buttery mustardy potato thing for lunch, we're about to have some more curry for dinner and then we're watching the last bit of Christmas Carol that we didn't make it through on Friday.

This week's looking to be a bit busy, but I'll report back on that later. Now I have to go help Allie with dinner.

'MAMA! MAMAMAMAMAMA!'

I didn't do much last weekend. Allie was working on Saturday and I stayed in all day until Allie came home and Bill came over. We got chips and watched The Pink Panther which I'd never actually seen in full. Very funny.

I didn't do much on Sunday either. Church was very sad as I learned that one of the young men from the youth club had been stabbed to death in Harlesden during an argument. The afternoon was okay with my settling down with a beer and watching the Star Trek:TNG episodes The Best of Both Worlds and its follow-up, Family.

I had a doctor's appointment on Monday. She signed me back to work. Then I came home and played some more of Half-Life 2. I've now finished it along with the follow-ups Episode 1 and Episode 2 and can happily say that I had the most fun that I've had in years playing an FPS. Now if Valve would just hurry up and finish Episode 3 so I can know how the story ends...

Later on Monday evening Allie and I watched a film called Starter for 10 which was entertaining enough, but also fairly predictable. I liked it most for getting to see Rebecca Hall again who I very much enjoyed watching in Wide Sargasso Sea a couple years ago and for the 80s soundtrack.

Tuesday was back to work day. It didn't go all that badly. I only saw my boss for a few minutes and then she was off in meetings all day and away for the rest of the week. I mostly spent the day sifting through the few hundred emails that had arrived in my absence and doing loads of filing. We also established my work pattern that morning and I'm going to be in doing short days Monday-Thursday now with Fridays off. After work I went to the pub to congratulate myself and try a few ales from Wetherspoon's autumn real ale festival. I liked the three that I had, but my favourite was probably one called Boss Hogg which was slightly citrusy and far too easy to drink. In the evening Allie and I went to see Michael Jackson's This is It which turned out to be far better than I expected. Jackson could still move and, despite a number of supremely cheesy moments, it looks like the concert was going to be a hell of a spectacle if he'd managed to pull it off.

Last Wednesday I had counselling in the afternoon, Allie and I watched more of the Making of Modern Britain show and we made a cheesy potato layer dish. This last bit was the real highlight of the day for me as we've not made it in years. I once tried to make it myself several years ago and made a disastrously gloopy mistake with the recipe and we've tried it few times since. This time around it worked perfectly and, much to my surprise, worked well with a bit of whole grain mustard to dip it in as well.

Thursday amounted to little apart from making the cheerful discovery that if you register an old copy of the original Half-Life with Steam then you get a bunch of freebies including a couple of expansion packs that I'd vaguely thought about buying. That made my day.

As I said before, Friday is now my day off. I didn't do much that day apart from help my friend from Open House with his computer again (I think we're getting close to fixing the problem), watching some Star Trek and finishing off the Half-Life 2 series. Another thing of note from the day was Allie bringing home a copy of The Sun that she'd picked up after seeing a guy she knows reading it. Tying in with the upcoming Jamie Oliver series, they had a two page spread talking about Hillbilly Hotdogs, which is where we went for my 30th birthday last year. I was expecting it to be really negative - they like to talk about fat Americans over here - but it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be from a tabloid like The Sun either.

I had my ankle MRI on Saturday morning. It all went rather quickly and I was off to the pub before I knew it. I made a mistake at the pub though and started my sampling with a half pint of a dangerously drinkable 8% Belgian ale before moving on to a couple others including my personal favourite of the seven I had in this festival, Cains Fine Raisin Beer. I was pretty disappointed not to be able to find Titanic's Another Pint in the Wall as I really like their ales, but... Maybe next time.

After the pub I went home via Willesden Green Tube which was novel as they've recently opened up some Metropolitan line platforms that are usually closed since the Jubilee line (the usual one for that station) has been under constant construction at weekends this year. I've always wanted to get off on those closed platforms and it probably pleased me more than it should to do so. Once I got home I started playing Portal and got about fifteen levels in before my poor fuzzy brain gave up. I'm a bit ashamed of myself now that I looked up the solution of the problem I was stuck on as I know I'd have been able to work out the physics of the angles of I'd been sober, but... Oh, well. It's been a great game (if a little short) with a wonderful sense of humour and one I think my father would really like if he can ever lay his hands on it.

In the evening that night Bill came over for chips and a film. I didn't see the film. I fell asleep. And I slept for fifteen hours. I got up on Sunday, was up for a few hours and went back to sleep for a few hours before repeating the pattern and sleeping through the night. No idea what was going on there, but I've lost Sunday and shot straight back into work today which was... Well... Good. I felt better than I have at work in ages and hope I can keep it up.

'We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!'

I can't get enough of this. Thanks to toomany2choose for the link! :op

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Thursday started with a visit to the rheumatologist. I wish I could say she had really good news for me, but she didn't. The short version of the visit is with my predisposition to arthritis and with my joints being hypermobile there's a good chance that the arthritis won't be going away and will be a chronic thing.  I'm less than pleased about that to say the least, but a lot of the inflammation and pain is controlled now so I think I can live with it. The thing that bothers me most about it, truth told, is the idea of having to be on medication for it long term. I don't like needing to put toxic chemicals into my body without the option to stop. But... I'm not willing to live with the pain of not doing so. At the moment I'm still getting pretty bad flare-ups if I'm fighting off an infection and may have a new problem with my right ankle developing, but day to day it's generally manageable and if I have to take drugs to keep it that way then take drugs I must.

Speaking of flare-ups, yesterday was a bad one. I had the swine flu jab on Wednesday and by Thursday afternoon I was feeling its wrath as every joint that has ever had pain in it decided to start hurting all at once. I spent a good part of the afternoon on the couch once I got back and or sitting at the computer playing bit more of Half-Life 2. The game is, by the way, all kinds of awesome. I loved the first one when I played it years ago, so I don't know why on earth I waited for five years after the sequel was released to play it. It's miles better than the first one and is a bit of a comedown every time I have to stop playing.

Last night I got myself a lovely takeaway dinner of roast chicken and chips and settled down to watch the final film in my little film festival, Crash. I appreciated the film for its style and examination of sexual obsession, but I'm not sure it's the kind of film one can enjoy as such.

Today's been okay. I've not done a whole lot apart from watch Star Trek, play my game a bit more and help a friend from Open House (again) try to figure out how to transfer some videos to his computer. I failed horribly on the last count as I don't really know Macs, but at least I learned a few new things.

And... That's about it. I doubt I'm going to Open House tonight as I'm still feeling a bit rough so I'll probably just spend the evening with Allie.
Last Friday I continued my Cronenberg film festival with Scanners. It was a little more straight forward than some of his other films that I've been watching lately, but I still enjoyed it for what it was. I also went to Open House that night and ended up playing around with a guitar and being asked if I would want to get involved with the choir as a guitarist. I'm not really that good, but I think I could handle it and I'm considering it.

Saturday was Hallowe'en. Allie, Bill and I went over to Nat's and were treated to pizza and watched The Ninth Gate. Parts of the film were entertaining and it felt like it could be leading somewhere interesting, but in the end it just kinda faltered and went nowhere. I still really enjoyed the evening though. Or most of it anyway... Getting back was a nightmare that took over two hours between a sleeping drunk guy delaying the tube, our own Tube line being out and buses not showing up. It makes me wonder what I'm giving Transport for London £100/mo for exactly.

Allie and I had a quiet day together on Sunday. She'd had several busy days running and needed a rest and I was all for it as well. We finished watching season three of The Wire which had a big surprise toward the end, got through the last of Emma and watched the first part of an interesting series about The Making of Modern Britain.

On Monday I watched (and didn't even remotely understand) Naked Lunch. I was having a bit of a down day physically, so Allie made a really good dinner of shepherd's pie and veggies and pickled beets and we just kinda rested for the remainder of the evening and started on the second season of The Waltons.

Tuesday was a kinda frustrating day on the games front. I've been waiting for a second hand copy of Half-Life 2 to turn up in the post. Postal strikes have held it up, but it finally turned up that morning. I giddily rushed down stairs to get it and booted up the computer. After I'd installed the game, however, it asked me for an access key. I entered it and was told it was already in use. Apparently the game uses a content management system called Steam that prohibits a game from being used by more than one player or sold on as once it's registered to a user the license can't be transferred. This irritates me for a couple of reasons. First of all, if I want to share a game with a friend surely that's my right. I'm not talking about pirating a copy. I'm talking about just loaning it out. Secondly, if I buy a game and decide I don't like it or finish it and don't want it anymore I should have the right to sell it on. The way games are getting now you're more or less just renting them from the game company and have no control whatsoever over the discs you've just purchased. That seems wrong to me. And, finally, the company I bought it from second hand should have known better than to sell something like that in the first place. I don't play new games that often and had no idea that things were taking this kind of ridiculous direction, but they should know it and warn about it. I know the game was so old as to only be £2, but it's the principle of the thing. Argh... At any rate after a while of trying to find a crack for the game I just broke down in the end and bought a copy of The Orange Box for £17. It's a good price and includes the game I'm after plus a few extras, but the whole experience has left a bad taste in my... um... wallet.

Tuesday evening was much better... After a couple hours of playing with my new toy Allie came home and we had a chilled out evening together. We had leftovers from the night before (yay!) and watched St Elmo's Fire which more or less washed away some of the day's frustration.

And today. Allie's off, but has been out most of the day starting on her Christmas shopping. I've done housework, cleaned, read, played my game a bit more, watched some Star Trek and gone out to get a swine flu shot. No idea about this evening, but tomorrow I'm watching Crash and seeing my rheumatologist. I'm a bit nervous about that last bit as I'm planning to ask about my long-term prognosis, but... I'm sure it'll be okay. And either way there'll be chicken and chips for dinner to calm me down. ;o)
Catching up...

Tuesday of last week I made another trip to Portabello Market to pick up some more Jerusalem artichokes. Little else happened that day apart from Allie and I ordering pizza (a rarity) and watching a copy of The 40-Year-Old Virgin that I picked up cheap a while back after hearing good reviews. I enjoyed both, but I probably enjoyed the pizza more as I've never been much of a fan of sex comedies.

On Wednesday I used the artichokes making another helping of the baked artichoke dish we'd had the week before. I did it myself this time just to see if I could as I usually don't make anything even remotely complicated without Allie's involvement. I'm very pleased to say that the artichokes came out perfectly. That evening Allie and I watched Ratatouille.

Thursday started well with Allie making us a tasty breakfast of pancakes topped with pomegranate, apple and honey. I pottered around the house most of the day and then in the evening we watched a slightly too glossy show about what's in our food, an episode of Scrubs featuring characters from Sesame Street and an episode of Question Time in which was largely about grilling the asshole BNP leader Nick Griffin about his views. The show was controversial and painful to watch, but has resulted in people calling for Griffin to be removed... If only we could just remove the rest of the party too. Freedom of speech is one thing, fascism is another thing entirely.

Friday didn't amount to much apart from getting another visit from my friend from Open House to help him with transferring some stuff to his laptop and starting to watch season three of The Wire with Allie. We're most of the way through the series now and it's still as good as ever.

Allie was working on Saturday so I spent the day largely by myself again. The main thing I did was watch David Cronenberg's eXistenZ which falls firmly into the films-that-mess-with-your-head category and which I thoroughly enjoyed. That evening Allie and I went on on mini-date that involved going for a bit of food at a Turkish place called the Woody Grill and having a nice long chat. I really like doing things like that - just getting out and having a good talk over food - and we don't do it enough these days. I think I may have had a good long phone chat with Heather that night, too, but it could have been another night around then.

Sunday saw Allie doing a lot of cleaning and me completely crashing and spending a good chunk of the day when I wasn't at church in bed asleep. In the evening it was more Wire.

Monday I spent mostly worn out. I finished off replaying Half-Life which I'd been working on off and on for a while.

I spent a good part of this past Tuesday cleaning in preparation for Allie's parents visiting and also made a trip to catch up with my GP. In the evening Allie, Bill and I had chips and went to see Up at our local cinema. We all really liked it even if there were parts of it that were more than a little depressing. The beginning kinda put me in mind of Raymond Briggs' Ethel and Ernest, but with a much happier conclusion. Definitely a film I'll be wanting to pick up on DVD.

Allie's parents came to visit for the day on Wednesday. It was great to have them (it's only the second time they've come down) and we had a big pot of carrot and coriander soup Allie had made for lunch. Then they and Allie went to the Imperial War Museum while I stayed home and went to counselling. In the evening they treated us all to dinner at a local restaurant called Little Star before they left.

And today... Again, not much to it. I watched another Cronenberg film, Videodrome this time, and again really enjoyed it despite it being more than a little bit disturbing. I've now had Allie pick up a couple more for me to watch in the next few days. Thanks again to ogrevi for the recommendations! Allie's been out this evening so I've been knocking around the flat by myself watching Star Trek, napping and eating roast chicken/chips. The excitement's killing me.

EDIT 02/11/2009: We also watched Lantana in there somewhere, possibly on Sunday, and really enjoyed it. It changed a few things around from the play and made it all very straight-forward, but it was still a very thoughtful piece of work.
Another counselling appointment last Wednesday. I didn't have any sparkly moments of self-realisation this time, but the counsellor did suggest that she'd like to refer me for psychotherapy which is interesting in itself. I think I'm going to take her up on it and see what the council is willing to offer. That afternoon Allie and I cooked up a huge pot of sweet & sour red cabbage and some sausage casserole which went perfectly together and which we ate whilst watching Fried Green Tomatoes.

I went to see the POTS specialist on Thursday afternoon. The good news is that (surprise!) he does think I have POTS. The bad news is that the tests show that the beta blockers I'm on are keeping my tachycardia/blood pressure more or less under control. So... What's causing me to be so tired and dizzy and how can that be resolved? To investigate further I'm being sent to another specialist in joint hypermobility which I seem to have and which has also been linked recently to things like CFS and POTS. I'll be seeing the specialist again in a few months time and hopefully by that time the arthritis will be under a little better control and I'll have results from the hypermobility specialist to work with.

Later that afternoon Allie and I made a large pot of broth which we'd been meaning to make for ages and which we ate from for a couple of days. The only other real thing of note from the day was that I finally finished reading The Prisoner of Zenda which I started reading back when we went to Paris and have only now finished. I'm now getting back on to some of my Bible reading (I stalled in Psalms) and I'm working on the very enlightening Lies My Teacher Told Me.

I ran a few errands on Friday and made a trip out to Portobello Road where I had a browse around a bookshop I like and bought some Jerusalem artichokes. I also had a brief visit from a from a friend from Open House to help him transfer some pictures to a thumbdrive he had before heading out to Open House myself.

On Saturday, Bill came over in the late afternoon and he, Allie and I went to the French Market that was being held outside the Willesden Green library centre and bought a selection of sausage, cheeses and other goodies which we retreated back to our house and shared around. We also watched the mildly entertaining Muppets from Space. We'd been planning to see Up at the cinema that evening, but we messed up the date that it opens locally so will be seeing it later on.

And Sunday... We made use of the Jerusalem artichokes using a recipe I found a while back and had been wanting to try out. I'm pleased to say that it worked perfectly and I would wholly recommend trying it out. We had big chunks of cheese and bread and a salad as a side to the artichokes and washed it down with a bit of red wine whilst watching Emma. Oh, and there were fireworks. The Hindu festival Diwali was this weekend and somewhere in the near distance people were setting off a large display of fireworks. Conveniently they were doing it directly in line with our front window so we could sit and enjoy it from our couch. Not a bad way to end the weekend overall... :o)

'Where there's a whip there's a way...'

I won a copy of the first game last year and played a big chunk of it with Da when I visited home. I don't know that I'll get around to this one, but the trailer's entertaining...

Also, I'll be looking forward to seeing more of the game below it, too. There's been something of a revival of the adventure game genre recently and Lost Horizon looks like it could be a welcome entry.

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