Monday, January 19, 2009

Bizarre things in life...

Would someone like to tell me how I found my delightful mutt sat in the backyard inspecting a dead eel that she was obviously about to consume for breakfast? As my backyarden is surrounded by ten foot high brick walls I was a little surprised as I wrestled the hideous object from the jaws of steel. It looked like this but with flaking skin where it was rotting away...

How did an eel get in there? Enquiring minds wanna know...

GD: thinking about torture and mind control; channeling my inner Shirley Manson through excessive YouTubing of Garbage videos; highly frustrated because the sodding Java plug ins that Firefox needs won't load properly and I can't work out why and I have no patience so I'm losing my temper. So I've deflected to delightful buggy old Explorer. Oh, and the weather outside is grotty, and I think I have a friend crush on the boy in Costa coffee house along the road. I just want to pet him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Family Ties

My brother is great. He's funny, successful, generous and hugely likable. It took me at least 21 years to actually realise this (or at least admit the possibility that we may be related. There are six years between us, after all). He is also exceptionally driven, ruthless when he considers it necessary and never puts off today what he could tomorrow. No, he's a grafter who starts things and then finishes them. In short, he's nothing like me.

Sibling differences aside, we do have some similarities. We don't suffer fools, we enjoy good times (wine and live music we have in common, plus art but he has the cash to indulge in his artistic tastes, whereas I have downloads!). Plus we are both very careful of what we say to our mother!

I have no desire to be like him or emulate his lifestyle; the same goes for him, yet we both recognise that we enjoy our respective lives immensely and we can take pleasure in what the other has achieved. Despite this, parental forces claim that we're jealous of one another...which leaves me somewhat astounded. My brother has had great economic successful, a wonderful house in a wonderful estate (mortgage paid), and won Welsh Manager of the Year (I'm not kidding...!). He has a fabulous daughter. He also works like a Trojan and has a highly stressful, non secure job, which involves making people redundant on a regular basis, something that bothers him very much. In short, he's successful because he works like a dog and does the crappy jobs.

I, on the other hand, don't work like a dog. I'm lazy. I have a nice, part time lifestyle with time to indulge in my hobbies which suits me nicely. I like my house even if my mortgage isn't paid off and likely never will. I really haven't maximised my potential earnings by ramping up my hours because I get so stressed that I think I may pop. Literally. I have no desire to take up the thankless task of managing my fellow human beings with their little hidden agendas and petty arguments.

However, I'm doing my best to be more like him this month. Hence opportunity no. 2. Submission no 2 is ready to go, all bar a summary about me and the posting. People ain't going to come to me if I don't give it my best first. I can dream about a three book publishing deal, but if I don't actually write something of publishable quality AND take the time to submit it properly (which is harder than it may seem at first) when opportunities arise then I have no right to whine about being an undiscovered genius.

So I'm currently doing the truffle shuffle bum dance on the envelope for luck (ask my friends...) and sending off my wing and a prayer...

GD: dreaming the impossible dream; thinking her editing is getting better because she's getting more self critical; listening to Garbage and worshipping at the altar of Shirley (Manson); reading Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry, which is great. Who knew he was a tea leaf?!

Monday, January 05, 2009

One down, one to go...

So its starts. I had to make a start somewhere I suppose. I can't just be content with P getting my dissertation bound into a book for me to give to peeps (a lovely gift, and one that forces me to finish the book because those same peeps are now all demanding to know what happens next...).

I didn't make any resolutions this year - it seemed rather pointless given I don't know where the hell I'm going right now, or where I'll be in a year. However, I can dither over things for the rest of my life of take a chance. So chance 1 of January 2009 has now been completed and is awaiting just me to leave the house and shove it in the post box. Short story comp + mslexia magazine + £8 = a probable confirmation of the fact I'm a crappy short story writer but what the hell! I sent it anyway.

Chance 2 of January 2009 is a bit more substantial, in that it's another submission with prizes, but it's the start of the aforementioned novel which I want to tweak in line with initial reader feedback. It's tricky because the first chapter is either loved by readers or hated, there's no in between and it does have a different tone to the rest so I'm unsure as to whether it stays or goes....

Hmmm...forgive my rambling. I'm just trying to orchestrate my thoughts and get my fingers going, which is quite difficult these days. Perhaps its the switch of laptop. Perhaps it's habitual laziness! Eeeeh well, whatever. New year, new challenges and all that. Have to think two years ahead for when job contract ends. Wouldn't it be nice to have actually published something?!

GD: listening to Bon Jovi (naff is great sometimes!), having a closet clearance and getting rid of anything that makes me feel dowdy or fat regardless of it's social history, anticipating Saturday when we're promising ourselves a Grand Day Out.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

If I were a flower growing wild and free...

...all I'd want is you to be my sweet honey bee..

From the best film and the best soundtrack of 2008, Juno has etched its way into my cultural desert along with the best of them (Little Miss Sunshine, American Beauty) as a duvet day film classic. I'm having a bit of a splurge on duvet days at the moment, which is somewhat indulgent. Although my reasoning is that if I venture outside the confines of my living room I will infect the nation with the bloody awful chest infection I picked up somewhere (lord knows where - public transport, hospital visits, nursing home bacteria...).

So it's probably time to write off 2008 and say Hola! to 2009, which in all fairness would have to go some to be as crap as last year (I shouldn't say that...tempting fate and all). So here's my hastily cobbled together Hi's and lows, joys and terrors etc for my delection:

Woman of the Year: Duffy
Peerless. Beautiful. Elegant. Talented. A dead ringer for Stifler's Mom (albeit twenty years younger). For writing Distant Dreamer (favourite song of 2008). She may seem an odd choice for someone who usually loves goth / rock, but I love Rockferry, and saw her live at the Academy last month where she was without doubt the best female singer I've ever seen. She owned that little podium. And my husband's heart in her hands for the whole 90 minutes, but hey! I'll overlook that fact...
Honorable mention: Britney, for clawing herself almost back together but still being endearingly partially splattered; Katy Perry, for the zebra, and Hot n' Cold, which I absolutely adore to kitchen dance to (along with, inevitably, Womanizer...) Yes, I really embraced my pop tart side this year.

Man of the year: Undecided
Men haven't impressed me much this year. I could be obvious and go for Barack, but 101 thousand other bloggers will. I could be banal and go for Eric Bana, but The Other Boleyn Girl was absolute trash. David Tennant's abandoned the Doctor for higher planes. Richard Armitage is a tad too thin in Spooks. In fact, I think I'll plump for my undisputed weird crush of the year, Michael C Hall, aka Dexter Morgan, aka David in Six Feet Under (aka DVD box sets of the year times 5). He's slimy, he's ginger (though I admit that's pot calling kettle black), he's either a raging gay love machine or murdering pyscho and boy do I find him hot....

Event of the year: drinking £35 bottles of wine in Mal Maison on Newcastle Quayside, December 2008
I have to thank my brother for this. We needed somewhere warm to hole up on a very cold afternoon which had started in the Hilton (where Bro & GF were staying) eating all the salmon sandwiches in the hospitality lounge, and the Mal is a homage to gothic decadence. I adore it. I could live there, with it's subdued lighting, thrones and purple velvet furnishing. It's pure heaven, albeit at a heavy price. Bro started it, he ordered the wine which was a beautiful South African red, that just flowed down like water. We continued it, ordering a second though I did see Bro wince slightly (we didn't know how much it was because he wouldn't tell us until we wrestled the bill out of his sticky little mitts to give him some money). Then we got loud and leery in a very posh space, singing AC/DC songs. Oh, and that line in SOAD that goes 'My cock is much bigger than yours...'. Probably the best afternoon I had all year. And the most expensive!

Honorable runner up: Whitby Goth Festival, October 2008. Would have won, if it hadn't been for the excessive bitching on the WGW Forum beforehand which tainted the air somewhat, and the even more excessive posing and constriction of gothic terms of reference. Next year we'll just do the pubs. And Edinburgh (Feb 08) was pretty damn good too.

Film of the Year: Juno, which I already mentioned...!
That's this afternoon's DVD. I also loved Batman: The Dark Knight, Hellboy 2, Wall-E. But I really didn't like Indiana Jones or Iron Man. Indy was just...limp, and Iron Man pushed even my love of comic book movies that bit too far. Haven't seen Quantum of Solace yet (shameful). However, I have spent a great deal of time wallowing in 80's brat pack movies - Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, St Elmo's Fire, and the peerless Lost Boys. I've also been trying to source Pump Up the Volume (Christian Slater film, when he was still fit) on region 2 DVD and it's very, very hard to get hold of...

Can I also say I am very pleased to be one of the 2% of women in the UK to have not seen either Sex in the City or Mama Mia?

Music: Soundtracks all the way..
Juno, Deathproof (Chick Habit by April March is just AWESOME!), Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I loves a good singalong, and these have provided great pleasures previously unknown. Also loving Trivium, which has filled that sad vacant hole in my soul that System left (though they'd benefit from the mad Ukrainian harmonies). Other than that I've been a bit lacklustre with music. Sorry!

Crappest event: OMG CREDIT CRUNCH!!!
Will ya all stop going on about it, already? We can't do right for doing wrong - pay of yer debts and the government howl because you ain't putting money into the economy. Well, bog off Gorden, thanks to the interest rate cuts I can now afford to pay back some capital off my mortgage and reduce my liabilities, so that's what I'm doing. Sod spending on my credit cards (paid off). Sod buying that new settee (the dog sleeps on it so it would smell). My purse is buttoned up and the high street a faint siren call. I'm not buying, I'm reducing, and loving every penny of it..

Additional trials: P's mum being so ill, obviously. Marriage woes, hopefully settled but here's watching 2009...

Can't be bothered to do books. I enjoyed The Color Purple, Watchmen, but nothing else really excited me. Pah.

Happy 2009 everyone!

GD is: on the settee with a stinking dog, trying not to let the fire go out, listening to BBC 6 Music, reading the Sunday Times and attempting to learn how to age proof my face...