Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Go Time

Battle stations everyone!
This is not a drill!
I repeat, this is not a drill!

This Friday coming you am going to be left in charge of a baby!
A real, live human baby!
6 months old. Male. Weapons-grade dimples!

His parents are having a relaxing night off and they are entrusting you with their adorable offspring!
You can do this!

You know how to change him!
You know how to feed and burp him!
You have an excellent track record of getting him to stop crying!
The way he falls asleep 9 out of 10 times he rests his head on your boobs those puppies may as well be soaked in chloroform!
You can do this!

Wait, how many bottles should he be allowed a night?
What sort of intervals!?

Draw me a diagram of how he is supposed to be tucked in at night, include measurements and tensioning requirements for tucking in the blanket!

He's teething now, how often do you need to apply bonjella?
How long do you leave his teething ring in the freezer before it will soothe him?
When would you need to use baby panadol?
What if he won't stop crying?
What if it turns out that he is The Chosen one and I need to protect him from potential assassins?
What if the zombies rise when I have him?
Do we have a rendezvous point?
Because I'd be taking him to my first staging post to keep him safe unless you have a better defensible position in mind.
I take babysitting responsibilities very seriously.
Very seriously indeed.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Unlearning Learned Behaviour

Well bloody hell, now what?

OK, a while ago I got sick with a particularly nasty virus, my doctor told me to stay away from caffeine and alcohol for a while and warned me that I may need to avoid them for the rest of my life in order to avoid a possible relapse or developing a permanent condition.
So for the last two years I've had no tea, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, soft drinks or beverages that contain caffeine, or anything of the sort.
At all.

Around last June she told me that I was no longer sick with the virus and when I asked she said I could think about trying little bits of alcohol and caffeine but I got the strong impression that she didn't think it was advisble and she wouldn't nominate safe amounts or intervals.

My uncle is a doctor and I kept intending to ask him about it but put it off for months because if he concurred with her then I'd have to face the unadorned truth that I should stay away from alcohol and caffeine for the rest of my life.
I know it's silly seeing as I was already doing that day by day but having it confirmed makes it official.
And once it was official I would start hearing sad songs in my head and seeing slow motion, soft focus memories of delicious chocolate thingies and cups of coffee and cool refreshing beverages*.
Anyway just before I went away in December I finally sent him an email with the relevant results attached and less than an hour later I got an email back saying 'I don't know what she's talking about, nothing you eat should impact on your blood test score'... 0_0
Right. OK.

The particular blood test score that I've been left with does mean that I'm more likely than someone without it to develop certain conditions later in life but I'm not guaranteed to develop them and unless I lead a life of Bacchanalian excess I'm unlikely to negatively influence that likelihood.

This was a relief but as I was about to go away to another country I wasn't about to start trying things.
After two years of no alcohol I would be guaranteed to be the world's cheapest date as the booze went straight to my head, and after two years of no caffeine it would likely whip through me like a hurricane.

That plus after two years of avoiding anything containing either of these things diligently because I thought it could make me permanently ill...  I couldn't quite wrap my head around it.
I mean I've even been avoiding uncooked soy sauce, just to be safe.
Did you know that many types of soy sauce have up to 6% alcohol in it? Well they do.

When I came home from Nepal with a persistent cough I went to see my usual doctor and found she was away and I was seeing the new doctor at the surgery instead.
So I thought 'what the hell' and asked her as well.
She said that there were perfectly healthy people who had these scores and there was no scientific link between caffeine and alcohol and negative impacts on health as a result of this blood test score.
I asked some pedantically specific questions to be sure and yep, after two years I can start introducing chocolate, coffee and booze back into my life.

And I have no idea where to start.

I mean obviously I'd start off slow, small amounts at staggered intervals but...

I am going to be nervous as hell.

This is going to take a while.

But I am determined that by the next time I visit Italy I will be able to have a coffee or a glass of wine without a thought.

Well, not entirely without a thought, I will appreciate them more than I ever would have believed possible a few years ago.

*Can't liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive, if living is without yooooooooooooOOOOOooouu!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

I Need Your Clothes, Your Boots And Your Pony

I've been to see The Hobbit three times now and I'm probably going to see it again.

I am not ashamed, not even a little bit.

What I am is slightly obsessed.

Not only with Middle Earth and the beloved characters of my childhood or everything that Peter Jackson has done with the material since The Fellowship Of The Ring.

But with the clothes.

And not just the fancier stuff with the embroidery.


Bilbo's dressing gown.

The simple design of the shirts and the fact braces involved.

Tunics and breeches.

Cloaks and boots.

If I learn to sew properly, with the level of skill I want to, I could happily spend years of my life making this clothing.

And I would wear it too.

Not just because I'm a nerd.

But because it is gorgeous and looks comfortable and fun.

I also wouldn't at all mind living in Bag End but I think the clothing is more attainable than the sort of money that it would take to build something this glorious.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

It's Like Being An Archeologist But With Piles Of Tosh

There are some tasks that seem too intimidating to approach.

So gargantuan that it's hard to know where to start.

So daunting that every initial step seems steeped in discouragement.

For me that is the family home's rumpus room.

With the family's 'children' now firmly in their 20s it hasn't been a play room for over a decade.

We still use it to watch TV and my brother has his exercise equipment in there but it has acquired a third and less desirable role over the years - the dumping ground.

Anything we didn't want to get rid of but which didn't have a proper home got popped in the cupboard or in what began as a neat pile against the wall and evolved into a tribute to The Great Wall Of China.

Every now and then we mumble something about how we should do something about this.

Then we have a tentative poke around, become disheartened and leave it for 'later'.

Well these holidays 'later' arrived with a vengeance.

It started with a pile of defunct electronics that we'd put aside to 'take to the tip when we get around to it'.

I gathered them up.
I put them in the boot of my car.
I kicked my brother until he came and helped dig around to see if there were any more bits of electronic crap that needed throwing out.
I dragged him to the tip with me.
We dumped the whole pile at the tip's recycling centre so they could strip out the wiring and whatever else they wanted.

We went home drunk on victory!

Well, I was drunk on victory, my brother felt pretty neutral about the whole deal except the kicking and the being press-ganged into participation.

Once I got home, I was on a mission.

Old paperwork was thrust into the hands of the people it belonged to who were forced to go through it and either find a home for it or bin it.

Boxes were opened and emptied and sifted through.
Stuff was reorganised.
Stuff was thrown out.

Floor space was cleared.
Carpet was vacuumed.

More victory inebriation!

It is ridiculous how satisfying this was.

It probably  helped that it had now been so long since certain things had been stored away that we realised that no, we were never going to use them.

It also helped that we've all gotten past the ages where you attach emotional significance to junk.
I'm not saying we're a bunch of robots who threw out our childhood toys, we've kept those, but there were plenty of other things in there which given a few years we can now recognise as things that don't need to be kept.

We still need to go through the big cupboard, which shouldn't be in too bad of a shape as I went through it in 2007 when I was unemployed after coming back from Europe and Young Endeavour.

What I know is lurking in there, waiting for me, is our VHS collection.


VHS collection.

The whole thing.

Taped-from-TV and store bought.

Obviously any home movies will be kept and transferred to disc - if they haven't already been - but the rest of it...

It's stupid I know but I feel shitty throwing out the store bought ones seeing as we kept them in such good condition and I feel annoyed throwing out the taped-from-TV ones when they contain things that haven't been released on DVD yet.

I'm going to.

I have to.

It's an obsolete format that we haven't used in years.

I'm going to feel weird about it though.

I hate throwing things out when they still work.

But my strange and pointless attachment to VHS aside, victory!

People are not going to recognise that room when I'm through with it.

And so help them God if they try and pile things up in it again.