Monday, November 27, 2006

Today's Top Tip

If you suffer from IBS don't go to a Cafe and drink coffee unless they have a toilet...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

“Early to bed early to rise…”

Proverb: “Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” Penned by US author Benjamin Franklin in “Poor Richard’s Almanack” 1753.

...2am is not exactly what I had in mind though.

One day seems to be blurring into the next at the moment; my disrupted sleep pattern means I’m never quite sure what day it is. Friday night I tossed and turned until some time past 4:30 Saturday morning, which was the last time I looked at the clock, and I had my alarm set for 10am. That’s not very early I know, but early for me, and especially considering I’d only had half the amount of sleep that I usually need.

Due to not being able to sleep well at night I’ve been sleeping in very late during the day time. People often make the amazingly simplistic suggestion of getting up earlier in the day and then forcing myself to stay up all day, to force my body clock to “reset” itself. That’s a brilliant idea. Why didn’t I think of that? That wasn’t my reason for forcing myself out of bed at 10am after about only 5 hours sleep, but I had hoped that after propping my eyelids open with match sticks all day I would be tired enough to sleep through the night by Saturday evening. Unfortunately sleep problems are never quite as simple as that.

Saturday night I went to bed at some time around 11pm, which I thought was a reasonable time – not too early, not too late. Then at 1:56am, after about only 3 hours sleep, my eyes pinged open like the doors of a department store elevator:

“Ground floor: Perfumery, stationary, and leather goods, wigs and haberdashery, kitchenware and food. Going up . . .” Doo do dodo doo… Doo do dodo doo… *

And here I am: completely exhausted but wide awake.

Man alive, I feel like death.

* Lyrics of the theme tune to “Are you being served” – a British TV comedy which aired from 1972 - 1985

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Today's Top Tip

Don't let unopened mail pile up for a month.

Sweet Revenge

After about 12 hours sleep last night I feel much more human, and as mentioned in the comments previously I did manage to get my own back on Mr Man on Wednesday morning.

Most of the time I sleep with earplugs in. This started years ago when some medication that Mr Man was taking made him snore horrendously. Although he doesn’t snore often these days I have become so used to wearing earplugs that even the sound of Mr Mans breathing can keep me awake, especially if I’m not sleeping well anyway. Wednesday morning was one such time. As I reached for my earplugs I recalled a time previously when I had reached for them during the darkness of night and knocked everything on my bedside table flying, obviously waking Mr Man: “What are you doing?” he asked. “I’m getting my earplugs” I replied. “Why? I wasn’t snoring was I?” “No, but I can hear you breathing”. “Sorry for breathing” he huffed sarcastically.

Recalling this event, as Mr Man slept peacefully beside me I burst into laughter, obviously waking him again. “What are you laughing at?” he asked, which made me laugh louder. Through my laughs, which were becoming increasingly louder, I tried to explain. “Alright, settle down” he said – a common expression from him when I have a laughing fit, which always makes me laugh even more. After laughing hysterically for several minutes I think it’s safe to say that his sleep was suitably disturbed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Let me sleep, and dream of sheep

A line from "And Dream of Sheep" by Kate Bush, "Hounds of Love" album 1985

Well, it’s silly o’clock in the morning and I can’t sleep. I haven’t slept all night. Another one of these stupid phases I go through. I tell you, sometimes I can sleep 10 or more hours a night and have a nap in the day as well, and other times I can’t sleep for toffee. When you can’t sleep you become obsessed with it. As soon as you wake up you want to know what time it is and how long you have slept for. The tiredness drives you insane. I swear I could murder sometimes just through lack of sleep. And that’s another thing: why am I having trouble sleeping when I’m already run down and exhausted anyway? I’m really not very happy about that.

Back to the murder thing though. Last night I couldn’t sleep either. Mr Man was tossing and turning, bouncing the bed around and huffing and puffing, and moaned “I can’t sleep”. It made me laugh when I saw this happen in a comedy sketch recently. Not so funny when you're lying next to it. Finally he got up for a cup of tea. Of course he had to bring it back to bed with him – which means the light has to go on until his tea has reached the optimum temperature for drinking. “Finally, I’m going to get some sleep” I thought, once the light went out.

It was only a few hours before my alarm went off for Mr Mans medication. I nudged him and then rolled over to go back to sleep. Unfortunately though we have the creakiest floor boards in our bathroom in the whole world. So, awake again I thought “While I’m awake I might as well use the loo, and then I can go back to bed and have a nice long sleep”. How wrong was I? I got back into bed and that was it – I was wide awake.

I decided to get up for a while and catch up on some blog reading instead of lying there looking at our ceiling. It’s quite a nice ceiling though. Mr Man painted stars on it in the shape of some constellations with some paint that glows in the dark. Very romantic. Still, not much to look at in day light. You can barely make out the greenish yellow dots in the day time.

By about lunch time I thought maybe I could manage to have an afternoon nap. It still took me ages to drop off to sleep, and then…

the phone rang.

It’s a friend of mine. “Sorry, were you asleep?” “Yes, it’s ok though, don’t worry”. Where did that come from? Of course it’s not ok. I was asleep, and now I’m awake again, how is that ok? She apologised and said goodbye so that I could go back to sleep. That was the theory anyway. I lay there for a while, struggling to get comfortable, and then just as I could feel myself drifting…

the door knocked.

It was nothing of great importance; just a leaflet. I say that as if there could possibly be anything “of great importance” worthy of disturbing my sleep.

By this time I want to put a very large notice on the door saying “GET LOST” for anyone foolish enough to want to knock on my door again; and unplug the phone, switch off the mobile and go back to sleep.

Sleep. Is that too much to ask for?

Now here I am again, and this is where the murder comes in. I have Mr Mans axe here; as you know, all Schizophrenics own an axe in case they decide that they want to run around chopping peoples heads off one day. So if you see the headline "Wife of a Schizophrenic Kills Postman with Axe" that will be me.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Today's Top Tip

Don't eat six Cadbury's Hazelnut Brunch Bars all in one go.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mr & Mrs Man

While surfing the net one night I was surprised to come across this explanation for the name “Mr Man”.

Obviously my Mr Man is absolutely nothing like this. He adopted the name simply because he loves the Mr Men and has been using the name “Mr Man” since the early days of his musical expression in the mid – late 1980’s. At that time he composed computer generated music for two Amiga demo groups, one British, one European, and used the name Mr Man for his contribution to the groups. Since then he has composed music ranging from classical to techno, with everything else in between, my favourite being his “experimental” ragtime tracks.

Recently I have found that there is more than one “Mr Mans Wife” using the internet. I had been reading the rather new but very interesting blog of Trainee Paramedic, and in order to leave a comment I had to create an AOL account. During the registration process I was asked to provide a display name, but “Mr Mans Wife” was unavailable as it was already in use!

So if you go by the name “Mr Mans Wife” this message is for you:
If you were married before 1997 and your husband has been known internationally as “Mr Man” since before the mid 1980’s you should let me know – otherwise step down as you are clearly an impostor!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Oh listen sister, I love my mister man

From the song "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man". Lyric by Oscar Hammerstein II, music by Jerome Kern. From the musical "Showboat" 1927.

Ok, I’m writing this blog from the (rather cold) upstairs room of a working mans club. Following on from Mr Mans success in last years table tennis league*, he has decided to play in this years season also. Being the dutiful wife that I am, it is my great pleasure to sit here for 3 hours, freezing my butt off, sitting on a padded bench that is less than comfortable, watching a ping pong ball fly backwards and forwards at varying speeds.

Watching the players is more amusing than interesting: an old lady in shorts enthusiastically bounces the tiny plastic ball on the floor several times before serving, as if she was playing at Wimbledon, and then crouching low she sways keenly from left to right, clutching her bat and staring intently in anticipation for the return of serve, just like they do on the telly – only she misses nearly every ball that comes back to her. It’s then funny to see how she switches from “Wimbledon player” mode to “little old lady” mode as she scurries off in search of the ball. No ball boys here I’m afraid.

There are three players in each team. On our team we have a young lad with his proud parents sitting about 8 feet away from me. With each shot he tends to step forward, stamping his foot hard on the floor, as he pushes his bat from his chest in a deliberate and forceful manner, as if pushing a lawnmower. If he’d like to strengthen that back hand further he’s more than welcome to train on our lawn - lawn mower provided at no extra charge. I almost forgot to mention the hilarious flick of the head that he does each time he serves, which is obviously funnier to see than to read about, not to mention the facial expressions. I’d love to have taken a photograph of him but obviously this would interfere with anonymity.

The other player in our team is the only Chinese man in the league – a nation notoriously good at table tennis, it being their national sport. He gives us the pleasure of being able to see his legs, which are shaped like chicken drumsticks (although clearly shaved rather than plucked), and make me feel even hungrier.

In the opposing team is the old lady mentioned previously and also an old man who is quite tall and lanky, and he poses at the table like a Tyrannosaurus Rex; legs apart, knees slightly bent, leaning foward at a 45 degree angle, and holding his left wrist to his chest, dangling his hand in front of him. I couldn’t resist taking a photograph of this man; I’m not so concerned about anonymity with him as I guess one Tyrannosaurus Rex looks pretty much the same as another.

I’ve just been downstairs to the bar to get myself a drink, and the prospect of sitting there in an empty bar with my drink, which tastes more like fizzy water than the Pepsi it’s supposed to be, and listening to Lionel Richie with the ugly young barman, is far more appealing than the alternative. Still, I trundle off back up the stairs in time for Mr Mans match. He’s quite a lazy player; he hardly moves his feet at all, unlike the third member of the opposing team, who is forced to run 20 feet back from the table to return Mr Mans shots. The opponent is quite normal looking, even quite good looking (sorry Mr Man), although a bit goofy... and he has a big nose... and his eyes are a bit small... ok, he’s actually only good looking from a distance. He’s almost given up hope after losing the first two games 11-2 and 11-2 but after some mid match coaching from one of his team mates (you’d never get away with that at Wimbledon), he finally manages to triumph over Mr Man, although probably not through a huge change of his own game play; Mr Man is not yet as fit as he used to be, and was hanging over the table by this point. Obviously his opponent thought this would be an easy match as Mr Mans team has just been promoted from a lower division, but suitably impressed by Mr Mans technique, he approaches him after the match to “fish” for information about his table tennis back ground. “You must have played for quite a high division before your break away from the game” he prompts. Mr Man, preferring to remain the enigma that he is, simply replies with “yeah” **. I love that man.

The last game of the evening is a doubles game, played by Mr Man and Chinese Chicken Legs against T Rex and Navratilova’s mother – Goofy and the Lawnmower Kid sit this one out. Soon it’s time to finally go home. Just before we leave though the Wimbledon woman wants to examine Mr Mans bat. It seems she can't quite believe that someone else could possibly possess more skill than herself and outplay her. Baffled by his very ordinary bat, she hands it back and we set off.

Cold, hungry, aching, and looking at chicken legs all night, how could I resist nipping into good old KFC on the way home?

* His team finished at the top of the division and he won the highest percentage of games in his division, winning himself a nice shiny trophy.

** Mr Man previously played for the Premier division before a break away from the game of about 7 years, due to illness.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Today's Top Tip

Don't rest hot buttered toast on your lap without a plate.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pains in the Published

As you can see from the title, this blog entry was inspired by “Pains in Public” by Andrew Holmes. With every page I read I kept thinking “I should write something like this about authors”. I know this may seem like an obvious statement to make, but I don't like reading unless it's enjoyable. Actually I've spent most of my life thinking that I simply don't like reading, when in fact it's just taken me most of my life to find something worth the effort. This post doesn’t just cover the written word that has been published though; it covers any written word which has to be read and really puts people off reading altogether. This can be anything from emails to … well, blogs. It is not my intention to insult or offend anyone; this is just a collection of what I personally find to be pains in the written word. You may or may not agree.

I’ve swallowed a dictionary (and it’s stuck in my throat)
Who can be bothered to read a book when you have to re-read every sentence after looking up the words in a dictionary? This is annoying because it has more to do with appearing intellectual than sharing a talent to bring enjoyment to others. Those who write poetry can sometimes be like this. For them writing is an intellectual exercise designed to impress, rather than an expression of thought or emotion. A classic example is a poem I read about depression. The author shall remain anonymous, and I just hope she never reads this blog – other wise I could be adding hate mail to my list of pains in the written word. The poem was very dramatic as it described the bony hand of death pushing the author into the abyss of despair, and the “racking spasms which chafe and gnaw”. P-lease. When I was depressed the only spasms I had were caused by my irritable bowel syndrome. Is it me, or is that kind of poetry really boring? (Except the bit about falling “down, down, down” into the pit, “down though the abysmal hollows of sufferance”, which considering the poem was about the very serious subject of depression, had me crying with laughter) Although the piece was very “poetic”, it was obvious that the writer didn’t have a clue what she was writing about. Well, as I’ve probably said many times before, I’m not a writer of any kind, but here is my effort about depression, full of feeling and meaning…

Man, I feel like crap.
The End

Let’s go all around the houses… (Or “Would you accompany me on this vast literary journey, which takes us through several English country sides, so that we can admire the beauty of nature on our way to our destination?)
These ones are closely related to the “I’ve swallowed a dictionary” type, because they also use ridiculous words that your average Joe Public wouldn’t use in every day speech, but also it takes them forever to say it. So, instead of saying something like: “Although it was a sunny day, it was cold and damp enough to take your breath away”, they might say: “As the sunlight seeped in though the opening of the curtains, its brilliance reflected off each tiny particle of dust hovering in the air, illuminating them like fragments of faceted diamonds. A hazy mist could be seen over the dew covered fields, and a cold dampness peculiar to that time of year filled the air and asphyxiated all who inhaled the unwelcoming atmosphere.”
For these ones, the content itself is not really important, but how the content is written. Indeed the story could be total cack, as long as it’s written beautifully. I once started reading a book and never got past the first page, because that whole first page was spent describing the scenery and the weather, and I started to wonder if there were any characters in the story at all, or if the whole book was going to be a very fancy weather forecast. Can you imagine that? “For those who live beyond the hills and valleys of Yorkshire, currently shrouded in a blanket of freshly fallen snow, which glistens in the moonlight and lays undisturbed like the skin of a gently perspiring virginal young maiden in deep slumber; you may experience the wrath of the skies, with lightening like flashes of anger, lashing against the darkness like a horse whip, and forcing the rain to gallop ever faster to the saturated ground…” By the time the weatherman had finished giving the weather forecast, we’d be in a different season.

The kewl ones
Of course, at the other end of the scale are those who wish to appear clever in quite a different way. Evryfin they rite has 2 b re-spelt as if th Inglish langwij woznt gud enuf. I can understand that in writing text messages words may have to be shortened to save having to send 50 texts at a time, but why do these people continue writing this way in every other area of life? Message boards, emails – they all become a nightmare to read. You know, I had heard that this kind of spelling was even finding its way into school work. But the re-spelling which seems totally pointless to me is when the words are exactly the same length, just spelt wrongly, like “kewl” instead of “cool” or “woz” instead of “was”. It doesn’t seem very efficient to me, it just means you have to learn two languages instead of one.

Abbreviations really annoy me. The only thing worse than reading an abbr. is hearing one being spoken, such as “ASAP” or “TTFN”. My Maths teacher (yes, I realise that "Maths" is an abbr.) always used to say "thou" instead of "thousand" and it was so irritating. I realise that sometimes abbreviations are necessary, again such as in writing text messages as one example, but in most areas they are completely unnecessary and rather than showing efficiency just show pure laziness in the use of the English language. One news article I read recently spoke of an “Ass Ch Con” – a what? It’s only through reading Police Blogs that I could hazard a guess that this was supposed to be an “Assistant Chief Constable”, but you can’t presume that Jo Public is going to know that. In fact, I did a search for “Ass Ch Con” on several websites for "Abbreviations and Acronyms", including Police websites which have an abbreviations page. They all came up with nothing. The abbreviation doesn’t appear to exist, except perhaps in a journalists note pad somewhere.

The writers who swear all the [bleep] time
I can’t tell you how much this [bleep]s me off. It’s so [bleep] irritating and [bleep] unnecessary. They’ll try to tell you that it helps them to get their point across, or that context calls for it in a scene where emotions run high – [bleeeeeeeep]! It’s more to do with their limited vocabulary and trying to give the impression that they’re:

  • Individual – as in the case of teenagers trying to gain the respect of their peers and show the older generation that they won’t be confined by their rules
  • “With it” – as in the case of people who want to show that they’re “in touch” with “life on the street” and they know “what’s going down”
  • Still “with it” – as in the case of middle aged people trying to gain the respect of the younger generation
  • “No nonsense” kind of people – as in the case with people who are insecure and unsure of themselves but want to give the impression that they’re confident and not afraid of anyone
  • Funny – as in the case where a sweet old lady will blurt out an obscenity in a comedy sketch, to shock people into laughter. This sometimes works, but very rarely. This kind of attempt at humour is often overused or overdone.

Just to illustrate the point about having a limited vocabulary: recently a friend of mine was trying to explain to me how something had “gone wrong”. Due to children being nearby she leant over and quietly asked “What’s another way of saying f***ed up?” to which I replied “messed up?”

They are the five main styles or areas of writing that really annoy me, however there is another area of the written word that really annoys me, and that is misteaks or things that just are wrote bad. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know we are all imperfect, and I make enough written mistakes of my own, but surely something as important as news websites should be read by proof readers before being uploaded onto the net? Recently I came across an article on a news website about a popular comedy being shown at cinemas, which said in part: “The film has described as a "mockumentary" which follows Mr Cohen's travel across the US.” This obviously should have read “The film has been described…” or “The film is described…” not “The film has described…” That is just one example of regular findings of poor grammar on this particular news site, as well as numerous spelling errors.

There are other written things that I can’t/won’t read because they bore me to death (and I’m really not ready to die yet), such as “small print” or legal documents – very important but very boring; and instructions – again, very important but very boring, so thankfully I have Mr Man to speed read these things for me and then explain the gist of the content.

Thank goodness for the recent craze of Blogging. It has enabled me to find some reading material actually worth reading, and some of that has come from the most unexpected places – people who I actually know that have an amazing talent which I knew nothing about. I know some people may be bored by the endless amounts of Blogs available for reading, or maybe they feel it’s becoming a bit “old hat” or that every Tom, Dick or Harry is jumping on the “bandwagon”, but I feel that Blogging is something to be encouraged. It’s about time that we had a “fashionable” way of encouraging the art of writing, especially for the younger generation. Everyone wants to receive the compliment that their Blog is “well written”, or to have other “important” or “well educated” people show their admiration by linking to their Blog, and so I think this encourages people to try to improve their writing skills and think more about their style of writing. Surely, this has got to be a good thing.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Blogosphere

Have you ever tried clicking that little button in the top right hand corner entitled “next blog”? I sat here clicking it the other night, and this is what I found, in descending order from the most numerous:

Most of the Blogs were foreign and I couldn’t understand a word.

Another high percentage were actually advertising products or services. I suppose signing up for a Blog is an ideal way of getting free web space with all of the site design completed for you – you just have to type your text and upload an image of what you are selling.

Lots of people use Blogs to keep family and friends updated on their travelling adventures if they decide to take a trip oversees. These include lots of photographs. They're like a cyber postcard which has numerous advantages: 1. It "arrives" much quicker, 2. It only has to be "posted" once for everybody, rather than writing and posting serveral cards to different people in the persons address book, 3. The cyber postcard can be updated everyday, 4. Family can even "post" back in the comments section, although I thought people went away to avoid having to talk to family members for a while?

Some people use Blogs just as a way of sharing with people a hobby that they enjoy, such as classic cars, or even clothes shopping, again with lots of photographs.

A few people actually use Blogs as a diary strangely enough.

And then there are classics such as this.

Also I came across this Blog which I thought was an unbelievably cute idea, bringing out the very girly side of me. "I want one! I want one!" And incidentally this is where my first “Button” came from. But also it raises the very serious issue of awareness for people who struggle on a day to day basis with these kinds of “invisible” illnesses.

I know there are many other types of Blog, but these are the ones which I personally came across during my cyber travels… I hope the links compensate for my lack of photographs of cyber space.

I'm a Barbie Girl

A UK #1 hit for Scandinavian pop group "Aqua" in 1997

Regular visitors will notice that there have been a lot of changes going on with the links in the side bar. This is due to my recent fascination with “Buttons”. I know it may seem amateurish to some, and it’s something that will make me stand out, appearing to be a typical “newbie” to the internet and blogging (being dazzled by pretty things that do “stuff”), but I’m a girl and I like pretty things, and I make no excuses for that. Being the easily impressed, dumb, (born) blonde that I am, I tend to click on links just because I like the name on them, or because they’re pretty. I'm like a moth to a flame: "Don't look at the light!" "I can't help it, it's so beautiful" - Quote from A Bugs Life