This is not a "niche" blog. This is everything that makes me, me - or at least the bits I write down. There's no such thing as a "niche" person.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Four days to go!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tired

A quick glance at some of the synonyms for "tired" reveals that there are lots of ways to say "I feel lacking in energy." I suspect it's a common human experience to be fatigued, worn out, whacked, flagging and bushed. It's certainly a common experience for me. I was reflecting the other day that I genuinely can't remember what it feels like to be refreshed, to feel not-weary. I wake up tired, spend the day in a state of tiredness and at some point in the evening am so tired that I can no longer do anything but go to bed. There isn't (I am fairly sure) any point of the day when, given some peace and a modicum of comfort, I couldn't easily fall asleep. I don't even need the peace and comfort - I've fallen asleep on a bus at 9 o'clock in the morning. So saying "I'm tired" doesn't really mean anything any more; it's as informative as "I'm breathing" or "I exist" - true, but generally able to be taken as read.

So when, as last night, I'm woken up at 2am by a vomiting child, how do I choose an appropriate synonym to describe my state at 10pm the following evening? I'm not sure that there's a single word or simple phrase that conveys the sensation of my head being both light and heavy, of my synapses being cotton-wool-balled to slowness; the effort of will to lift each leaden leg in turn up the stairs; eyes that burn until I close them and then burn until I open them; the disquiet of a noise that I can't hear distractingly invading my middle ear. Which word can convey the sense that there is so much to do, so much that will not be done, that tomorrow lurks only a few hours away with its own cargo of deeds and requirements and that sleep, sleep, no matter if it be brief or deep, will not, cannot hope to be enough?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring news

I've been in a kind of hibernation as far as writing anything for public consumption is concerned. It's not been the short winter days (though it is wonderful to see some sunshine again) but rather some of the murkier areas of my psyche that have slowed me down. The problem with ferreting around in your own soul is that some of the things that are unearthed become, well, preoccupying. I can't/won't write about them, but it's hard to write about anything else. I wonder if this is what newspaper editors have felt like over the past weeks - no matter how great your gossip and human interest stories are, Global Catastrophe pushes them off the front page every time.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

You get what you give

I've been absent from online life for a while, barring the odd Facebook post. Last month I got so busy with the pantomime (review here) that I didn't have time to do any writing, and then... well, it was kind of hard to get back into it. There was always something else that I needed to do, and I wasn't sure that I had anything I wanted to say. Lots that I could have said, but not sure that I wanted to say it.

At the same time I had to miss church on a couple of Sundays (again, too much to do and only limited time to do it), and then because Rachel had extra dance lessons and Katrina was finishing up her dissertation I didn't get to small group on Tuesdays either. Unfortunately, with the exception of passing brief conversations at work, church and small group are my social world, so once I missed them I had cut down my contact with friends by about 95%. And at that point - because it was easy, because I was probably a bit stressed out and busy and a bit lonely, I started to succumb to self-pity. Why, I wondered, had nobody from small group phoned or emailed or sent a message via Facebook to see if I was OK? Sure, I'd said I wasn't going to be there for a few weeks, but surely someone would say "Have you heard from Steve?" and someone else would say "I'll give him a call during the week"? I began to wonder what would happen if I didn't go back. How long would it be before someone said something?

Thankfully all these maudlin and self-centred thoughts were stopped one day, when it occurred to me that I have never done for anyone else the things that I wished they would do for me. I don't call people, or send them messages, even if I KNOW that they're having a tough time. Sure, we don't have friends who drop by unexpectedly (well, none who are aged over 18), but I've never in the 12 years we've lived here gone round to someone's house uninvited just to say hello, see how they're doing, have a chat. I don't make any contact with people who I think of as my friends except when we get together for a common purpose on a Sunday morning or Tuesday evening; accusing anyone else of not making the effort is decidedly in the "throw the first stone" category.

Oh, and for anyone thinking that the title of this post seems familiar: New Radicals.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Decomposition

I recently buried Shadow, the last of our gerbils. He has joined the rest of the pets who have died in the last ten years or so, in his own spot in the garden. Digging a grave, even a gerbil-sized one, is a strange activity. Physically attacking the soil with the spade feels therapeutic when you're sad, but at the back of your mind is the knowledge that soon you'll be filling it in over a little body.
I can't help wondering at what point in prehistory people first formulated the idea that we are made of the same stuff as the ground. There must have been some point when the sum of human knowledge first contained the idea that if you leave a dead body long enough it turns into something that looks less like a body and more like the ground. I'm sure that there are paleoanthropologists who have theories about how this happened - did someone bury excess meat for safekeeping, like a dog with a bone, only to discover that it had changed when they went back to it? Or did dead members of the tribe get put in the same special place, so that there was an opportunity to see how the older bodies were different from the more recent ones?
It's frustrating that there is so much I know nothing about!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

I know the heart of life is good

I was trying to think of a word to describe how I'm feeling - busy, too much to do, over-stressed, but yet feeling something that isn't exactly "everything for the best in this best of all possible worlds" optimism, but is a certainty that things are going to be OK. Then I remembered this song.




Monday, January 31, 2011

B&Q pricing scam

I went into B&Q yesterday to get some bits and pieces to reinforce the stairgate, which was no longer Oscar-proof. I was going to buy an enormous sheet of hardboard, because it was only a few pence more than a sheet about a third of the size, but then I realised I'd have nowhere to keep the offcuts, so I went on my way, muttering about how buying the smaller version of something makes it more expensive, etc, etc, looking for a roll of gaffer tape. Finding the right aisle, I was pleased to see that there was a plastic bin of "Value" tape. "Excellent," I thought, "I can save a bit of money after all."


But hang on, those Value rolls don't look as big as the standard tape on the shelf above. Let's have a closer look. Hmmm... the Value tape is 10 metres long. while B&Q's standard tape has 25 metres on the roll. "Let's see," I wondered, "How does that work out in pence per metre? Oh, wait - it's written on the price ticket."


That's right: the "Value" tape is 39.8p per metre, while the standard tape is 23.9p per metre.

So, B&Q, what's your definition of "Value"? Because I suspect that most of your customers think that it means "cheap" or "a better deal", not "actually more expensive". There is no way that a roll of tape that is both shorter and costs more per metre can be described as a "value" product, and putting an orange and white "B&Q Value" label on it does not make it so; this is either a mistake or a deliberate attempt to mislead in the interest of profit.