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Archive for May, 2008

succulent ovoids

long live the typewriter!

See, it’s not just me!

EDIT: oops, sorry! Broken link to BBC typewriters article FIXED!

Think I might be on to something with the new book. Allowing myself to get slightly excited!

t’internet, and Lovely Ladies

Right. eBay. It’s a blessing and a burden ain’t it? Availability of lots of items at bargain prices, rare stuff, bits and bobs you can’t get anywhere else, usually for good reason. And also a helluva lot of old tat.

Now, I’ve bought and sold a fair bit of stuff through eBay in my time: guitar gear, computer equipment, CDs, a guide I wrote last year. Usually, it’s relatively plain sailing.

But there can be problems. Oh yes.

Last week, for example, my wife bought some Very Special Ladies’ Eye Stuff, which is highly expensive in the shops. She tells me that it’s usually about thirty quid for one thumbnail-sized pot, but this bargain, dear reader, was nine ninety-nine for *three* thumbnail-sized pots. Coo.

My missus was very pleased with this bargain. However, when the tiny tubs of Very Special Ladies’ Eye Stuff arrived, two of the pots contained a brown wax-like substance which looked neither special nor suitable for application to Very Special Ladies’ eyes. Rather Toxic rather than Very Special would probably be a fair assessment. The third pot contained a creamy white substance that looked considerably more as expected (although she says it still isn’t quite right).

I contacted the seller not expecting very much, but the two Rather Toxic pots were replaced with Very Special ones without question and, lo, my wife was happy again.

That was not the end, however. She’d also tried to buy some Lovely Créme for Ladies’ Faces, but hadn’t had much luck in finding the right stuff: there was Gentle Créme for Sleeping Ladies, Mild Créme for Ladies with Delicate Skin, Mild Créme for Lovely Ladies, and numerous other crémes, sérums and other things with “é” in them, but very few listings for Lovely Créme for Ladies’ Faces, which was what she particularly wanted.

I stepped boldly in, as know-it-all husbands the world over are wont to do. I promptly sought out, bid on and won on her behalf some Lovely Créme for Ladies’ Faces, at a price which, she tells me, is about a third of the shop price. It was the right stuff, the right size, the right box, the right price, the works. It arrived yesterday.

Or did it?

When I showed my wife the packet, her Lovely Lady’s Face dropped: instead of Lovely Créme for Ladies’ Faces, I’ve been sent some kind of Super Sérum! Rather than a Super Sérum, this is actually an Absolute Bugger for several reasons:

  • My wife is disappointed;
  • I look like a chump (even though I DID buy the right stuff – we checked);
  • It means I’ve got to contact the seller and then faff around exchanging the stuff.

So, what’s the point of telling you all this? Well, I’m not entirely sure, but I suppose for myself I should learn to mind my own business and stay out of my wife’s transactions (to be honest, it’s not her transactions I’m generally most interested in getting into…). As far as you’re concered, make sure you exercise caution when buying products with “é” in them via t’internet, especially if you are a Lovely Lady.



Last night I had something of a eureka moment (you don’t smell so good, yourself, etc). It even happened in the bath! I had to get my son to bring me a note book and pencil so I could jot a few down a few key words.

It involves one of the key aspects of the new book I’m planning. As generally occurs in such instances, it has led directly to another key aspect I have to work out, but remains an important step forwards nonetheless.

It’s possible that it in the end, when I’ve thought it through further, it turns out to be not so brilliant after all, but I have a good feeling about it. I was even prompted to get out my beloved Lettera and type up a few notes. I even sketched out a scene. Hoorah! I almost feel like I’m on to something. Thoughts continue to tick over in the backbrain.

Stem cell research

There’s a tremendously interesting debate regarding stem cell research on a special Beyond Belief podcast from April 21st. The programme, hosted by Ernie Ray, features the Rev. Mary Seller, a Professor of Developmental Genetics at Kings’ College London School of Medicine, David Jones, Professor of Bio Ethics at St Mary’s University College, and Omar Sultan Haque, a Muslim theologian at Harvard Medical School.

This is an incredibly complex issue with passionate views on both sides. The research is already under way, and could eventually lead to cures for Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s and type one diabetes. But when does life begin? What is human? What is the ethical position of a cybrid embryo created using material from cows and humans (created by inserting a human cell into a hollowed-out cow’s egg)? Stirring stuff.

To make a decision one has to be thoroughly and correctly informed regarding the procedures involved and their (likely/potential/desired) results. It’s easy to cry that this is unnatural or blasphemous, but do the potential benefits of such research justify it? Should we trust those who are thoroughly and correctly informed to make decisions for us on such issues, or should we adopt a more cautious stance and leave well alone?

Millions of sufferers of the kinds of diseases that could be treated as a result of such research are living in pain every day of their lives. But is this just another step along a dangerous route from which we can’t turn back?

I don’t know any of the answers.

Lessing is more

I was interested to see Alan Yentob’s interview with Doris Lessing on BBC1 last night (yesterday’s post was purely coincidental). While in many ways inspirational, I also couldn’t help feeling somewhat despondent while watching it. I’d love to write a novel that’s considered somehow “important”. But I know I never will.


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