household objects

A coffee percolator, which has given good service:


A wooden pig-shaped object with a hole in the middle and balls to roll on. When I bought it (from, I believe, the Würzburg market) I believed it to be a toy. It has recently been pointed out to me, and demonstrated, that it is in fact a massage device: the hole is for holding, the balls roll over someone’s back and achieve massage effects. Curious.




Elberry in Manchester:


Beer: Runaway smoked porter was forgettable. Beavertown Smog Rocket smoked porter was a good heavy stout. Flying Dog Easy IPA was great (according to my opinion and that of the Significant Other.)

Parents in the Castle Inn, Bramber:


Beer: Bramber Ale (an american amber ale) was fantastic. Harvey’s Best Bitter was pretty good. The Dray Bells winter ale was good though keeping it as a seasonal special is probably for the best – the sort of beer that’s nice for a change but you wouldn’t want to drink it too often.

Watched Tomorrowland with the Significant Other. An OK-ish film. I’m planning to do slightly more proper blogging (mostly reviews) this year, but – as here – with a “read more” cut so it doesn’t clutter up the front page of the blog. Continue reading

Christmas Interlude

My mother kept singing about Hi-Ho the Christmas Rat until I was forced to take action. Apparently she got a Christmas card with a rat with a crown on and thought this was cute.


In other news we watched Dr. Who the other night, the Christmas Special. I used to read any Dr. Who books I could get my hands on but haven’t troubled to see the new episodes, except for the occasional Christmas episode. It was actually pretty good. The concept (two Doctors trying to put off regeneration) was interesting and a good excuse for putting them together. The interaction between the 1st and 12th Doctors was pretty good, and sometimes amusing; especially with the 1st Doctor (who was the best thing about the episode) making mildly un-PC comments and the 12th Doctor trying to hush him before anyone gets offended. (The only people liable to take offense are himself, a vaguely-irritating black lesbian who I think is supposed to be likeable and feisty or something, and a dalek, so social damage control is a bit pointless. But I can relate to 12th-Doctor’s attempts to shush anything likely to cause Social Embarassment, as that’s my general tendency too.) The plot device of first and latest Doctor coming together also allowed the Doctors to ponder their mission and place in the universe, with some interesting comments from the 1st Doctor.

Sadly the episode wrecked this viewer’s goodwill by having Capaldi make an idiotic and inane speech before his regeneration, full of braindead platitudes (who he’s talking to is not clear; his next incarnation?) – a blindlingly stupid idea. The last one did this as well but at least he was actually talking to someone, not that it was much better content-wise.

Anyway, 1st-Doctor had pointed out that 12th-Doctor’s TARDIS was not cleaned properly, and suggested it was because 12th-Doctor needed a woman around. 12th-Doctor evidently took this to heart, and turned into a woman himself. Sadly whether this leads to a cleaner TARDIS must remain unanswered as the TARDIS promptly malfunctioned and became a write-off after 5 seconds of having a woman take the wheel; go figure. (And they say the BBC is too politically correct these days…)

Looking at other reviews on the interwebs indicates that I have significantly different tastes to, at least, the average entertainment journalist. The diversity sidekick comes across as “wonderful” to some people; ok, fair enough, takes all sorts etc.; more disturbingly, though, some of them actually thought the brain-numbing gibberish of the final monologue was tolerable, or even “touching”. (My mother has since defended it on the grounds the Doctor was still putting off regeneration and was doing a final waffle to buy himself time, which is the best argument for it I can think of.)

The pre-regen monologue contained a Bertrand Russell quote, so this is apropos:

In August 1922 Russell happened to be passing through Austria on his way to an Italian summer school of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and he arranged to meet up with Wittgenstein… [who] ridiculed the very idea of a League for Peace and Freedom. “I suppose you would prefer a League for War and Slavery,” Russell retorted, and Wittgenstein replied “eher noch!” – “much rather, much rather!” [Source]

…but that’s enough grinching for one Christmas. Peace to all and God bless us every one.

Some girl I’ve never seen

Ukrainian, as it happens, not that it matters.

My student: “Can you draw me a picture? Make it really nice?”
Me: Sure. What?
“I dunno. This girl.” *shows a picture of her class, points out a classmate*
…uh ok. Got any pens?
“This felt-tip. And glittery pens!”
I’ll see what I can do. *scribbles rapidly*
“Also there’s a table and she’s playing ping-pong!”
…a bit late for that. I’ll finish this one and draw a second picture with ping-pong table, OK?
Well let me finish this one, it’ll only take a minute. What I can I put in her hand…
“AAAAAH why did you put an axe in her hand why is there blood”
Well because I’m going to draw another one.
“NO no more pictures. How am I going to give this to her now?”
What…? Look let me draw that one you wanted with ping-pong –


So I scribbled a little note on the picture and told her to tell her friend that her English teacher was slightly crazy, and surely her friend would be ok with it. I suppose I’ll find out how that went in the new year.