Saturday, February 28, 2009

My band's first album

This is a fun little 'thing' which is going around Facebook and which I thought some of you might enjoy.

According to the rules, this is my band's first album:

Ironic, n'est ce pas?

And heres how you find out yours:

1 - BAND NAME Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random article” or click

The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - ALBUM TITLE Go to "Random quotations"
or click

The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - COVER ART Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click

Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

5 - Post it to FB with this text in the "caption" and TAG the friends you want to join in. (be sure to tag me, so I can see your creation)

(my album cover from:

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Frivolous post as promised in the context of the penultimate and complaining post.

What better encouragement in frivolity than a kitten?

Anything can be a toy :

from bits of used sellotape to feet to dustbunnies
from purloined socks to rubber bands, plants to stairs
from a seemingly innocent and motionless but obviously suspect pencil to chunks of old plaster.

I'm not sure where he finds the latter, I suppose I should be worried about the state of the walls or ceilings somewhere in the house...

Sleeping is serious of course.

Sleeping and eating are most serious.

But everything else is fun and interesting.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I had interesting ideas about what to do and post for this Thursday's Theme, but I ran out of time and steam.

But this is a photo of the old British Library reading room, which used to be at the British Museum. I spent some time studying there during a year's temping in London, when I was preparing to become a postgraduate student. How I wish now that I could go back and take photos of the stereotypically eccentric and often creaky old gents who used to study there. I always felt self-conscious not only for being so young, but also for being female. Significantly in the minority on both counts.

I remember wearing dungarees and probably looked about 15.

Sometimes there would be a long wait while the little old men (as I remember them...) brought the books you'd requested up from the stacks, and delivered them on trolleys to your desk.

I expect its changed quite a bit now, and not only because of its new location near Kings Cross.

And here are some library pictures from New York:

First photo found here (where there are some other fab. library pictures) and on other websites, but I couldn't find an attribution for this one. There are some similar (possibly better) here.

Other photos - NYC public library, taken by me, July/August 2008.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


...about complaining

(don't worry, neither long nor a rant)
(at least, thats my intention)

First instance of national complaining
Apparently there were 15,000 phone calls to emergency services during the unexpected and atypical snow here in the UK -

15,000 calls from people complaining about snow ball throwing.

In the face of this statistic*, I find myself without the words - or even, indeed, the will - to make any further comment.

Proud to be British?

Second instance of "national" complaining:
Some of the bosses / ex-bosses from major banks were in Parliament this week, and all over the news and papers, apologising for their part in the crash.

They also proffered the information (presumably in their defence) - is it too much to call this a complaint? - that they too had suffered losses of £££millions.

Again, I find myself almost beyond making any further comment.


These losses are through bonuses taken primarily in shares.
Bonuses given, of course, on top of £££million salaries.

We the British public are, also of course, complaining about this.
I have no confidence that our complaints will be heard by those who "matter".

After Obama's cap on the salaries of bosses of US bailed-out banks, our bank bosses have apparently been scrabbling frantically around to get out bonuses for the current year before the various loop holes which allow for this are closed.

Despite their currently huge salaries.
Despite the recession.
Despite the loss of savings and pension affecting ordinary people on low incomes.
Despite the £££billions of public money recently put into saving their banks.

Despite...despite...spite...spitefully...spitting...sorry, mustn't rant.

Will Gordon Brown might follow Obama's example?
I have no such hope.

Complaint over. I hope this was neither too long nor too ranty.

My next post will be much more frivolous.

In the context of thinking about this, I loved and thought most brilliant this cartoon by Martin Rowson from last week's Guardian:

Cartoon: Martin Rowson, The Guardian Saturday 7/02/2009
* source of information: Marina Hyde in The Guardian Saturday 7/02/2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I was a bit flummoxed for photographs for today's theme, until I remembered my last trip to the London Aquarium - some years ago, near the beginning of my snappy habit.

I'm restraining myself to only 2 pictures (in fact, I think I did a blog post about it at the time).

There were some weird and wonderful and disturbing fish there.
But these are among my favourites.

Who would have thought that fish could be comforting?
... especially jellyfish.

But I find these so appealing - their beauty and implacability and... just plain weirdness... as they drift serenely through the blue blueness.

And whoever would have thought to call a music group Jellyfish?

but I like them
and I like this one

and I do do do wanna stay home

and drift serenely...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

the white stuff

It seems that some of you heard about our recent weather, even from across the Atlantic.

No doubt parts of the UK (the North and Scotland) were sniggering about the fuss we southerners made, being themselves quite used to such degrees of whiteness. And some of you reading this from other parts of the world would find 8 inches of snow nothing to write home about. Or write blog posts about. But it was snow in unusual quantities for us, especially in London. So please bear with me - it was exciting! we had fun!

LG set off for school, feeling very hard done by and with a note explaining why she was wearing non-school-uniform trainers, but was back home before very long as there was no public transport and walking would have been quite an unpredictable trek.

The school sent an All Parents text around some time close to 2 pm announcing school closure (tch!) by which time we'd been out trudging, crunching, photographing, wondering, wandering, fighting, throwing and generally playing around with the lovely stuff. And, in between times, sitting in front of a roaring fire.

Classes at University were also cancelled for 2 days and so, as a friend put it, it was like a surprise holiday somewhere different.

Somewhere better, with much more beauty, fun, mucking about and damp clothing drying on the radiators.

Monday was full of heavy whiteness and the sky was thick with snow all day.

Tuesday was clear and bright, the sun casting exquisitely blue-white shadows on the still-crunchy sparkling snow.

Our garden still has a few patches of snow and ice, but the forecast of "heavy snow" again for tomorrow has now sadly changed to a prediction of "sleet". Won't that be nice?

I'm still in the process of sorting through the many photos I took, but heres a selection:

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Poor nymph, her head seems to be long gone and she sits patiently sightless, deaf and dumb in Crystal Palace Park, South London - on the site of the original Crystal Palace itself.

A statue rather to match my mood at the moment,

but I really don't want to be a miserable blogger, so here is another statue of a less gloomy kind:

Not only headless but armless too, but she looks as though she could be having a bit more fun than poor nymph...

This is a Thursday Theme post - details here.

1. Headless nymph, in Crystal Palace Park, South London
2. "Mankind" by Eric Gill, in the Victoria & Albert museum.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

work pants

I feel the need to vent a bit and may or may not publish this...

All work-related.

Work is pants.

So much in my life has grown and improved over recent years, but work steadily becomes more and more difficult and stressful.

We have a fairly new manager who was, no doubt, brought in with a mandate to be ruthless, to cut back, shake up, make hard decisions, get us into leaner meaner shape.

(after all, isn't that what education is about? being lean and mean...?)

She seems to be following a slash and burn policy, bludgeoning through controversial changes with little (or no) consultation, with too little time to allow for thought or reaction and with no sign of concern for the wellbeing of her staff i.e. us.

Everyone in my section of the institution is stressed, confused, anxious, angry, feeling powerless, undervalued, unable to make even minor predictions about the near future and fatigued. What constitutes a "normal" workload seems to have doubled over night. A low-level but persistent air of panic and paranoia lurks in the corridors.

Good management, huh?

When I'm in the classroom and/or with students I am happy, I love my work. My classes are going well, a lot of students are enthusiastic, engaged, learning... My job is worthwhile and I know I am good at it.

As soon as I begin the walk across to my office, I'm back down into the grim and uncertain reality. The total pants-ness of it all.

I wish I was in a different job.
I wish I was 10 years older and could think about - and possibly afford - early retirement.

And I do not wish to be wishing these things.

Oh for a job - even a boring job, a difficult job - where I could do my hours, shut the door to leave and go home with no work-related thoughts or responsibility in my head.

Its not easy, amidst all this, to keep a balance, to remember to breathe. On the whole I'm not doing too badly, though its hard to keep my mind from constantly returning to it, but I am angry, despondent and very weary of it all.

I see my Mission, for the weeks and months ahead, should I choose to accept it, as a mission to be as preoccupied as possible with Living Life.

I'm a tasks-oriented kind of person.
If I can focus on family, friends, textiles projects, decorating the dining room (begun last.... um.... June...), getting back to swimmingyogacyclingwalking, photography, blogging, gardening as the weather gets better



work pants will have less power to discomfit and I'll be better able to take them off at the end of the day and just leave them

on the floor

under a chair

maybe logan will even carry them off and hide them?

Sorry for the rant.

Here is a picture of the lovely Logan who certainly wouldn't let work pants - or any kind of pants - discomfit him.