The Lava Trolley

The Lava Trolley

Or is it the lavatory???

...Either case, this little nook on blogasphere is the natural dumping ground for the sort of crap that erupts
when you find a wee Chink in the Britworks...

But hey, I promise you this is steamingly hot shit...which is probably why it's all looking a bit brown!


01 December 2010

Stuck on an Island?

Kindle with books - graphite

What are the 10 books you'd wish you had with you, just in case you've got some spare time in between picking coconuts and fishing (or in my case, most likely starving to death)? Or maybe top 50? But why stop there? Let's make it a hundred.

Actually, forget this...Just bring a fully-loaded Kindle. I never leave home without it.

Thanks to this timely birthday present, expanding my library (more specifically, collapsing bookcases) is no longer a concern. I could even fit in, with room to spare, every single book mentioned on that meme which has been going on since last year - a list supposedly compiled by the BBC. Apparently, out of the 100 offerings of literary greats, Auntie reckons most of us have only read 6 of them.

As far as I know, the only known list by the BBC is on The Big Read which does not exactly resemble the meme in terms of order and content. The only one that is identical is the 2007 can't-live-without poll by The Guardian.

Since no one can agree which is more accurate, I've decided to double the fun for everyone (oh joy!) by using both of them so we can all show off just how clever/dull (depending on your take) we are.

I'll begin with The Guardian's since that appears to be the favoured version.

Bold those books you've read in their entirety. Italicise the ones you started but didn't finish, or are still reading. Then send this to (or tag) all your friends (including me) who will hopefully be bored enough to do the same. Please note that watching the movie or TV series does not count.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte *
4. Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott *
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell * +
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll +
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma -Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis +
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (Oh the shame! Ah well, guess it's more fodder for the fire on that island!)
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Inferno - Dante
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl +
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

If you're wondering why some items have a [*] or a [+] after them, the former marks out books read so often they are now falling apart (obviously pre-Kindle), whilst the latter indicates that I have read the sequels/prequels etc etc.

Anyhow, swiftly moving on to the BBC's version where the same rules apply...

1. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë *
11. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, - Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
18. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott *
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell * +
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone - JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets - JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban - JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch - George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany - John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath - John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll +
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker - Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth - Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl +
36. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion - Jane Austen
39. Dune - Frank Herbert
40. Emma - Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down - Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm - George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom - Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers - Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men - John Steinbeck
53. The Stand - Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The BFG - Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons - Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses - Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha - Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCollough
65. Mort - Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree - Enid Blyton +
67. The Magus - John Fowles
68. Good Omens - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies - William Golding
71. Perfume - Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists - Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch - Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda - Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White - Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses - James Joyce
79. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
80. Double Act - Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits - Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle - Dodie Smith
83. Holes - Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast - Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel - Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
89. Magician - Raymond E Feist * +
90. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather - Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear - Jean M Auel * +
93. The Colour Of Magic - Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine - Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel - Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love - Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie

If you combine David's collection and mine, we probably have most of these books in one form or another (digital or paperback/hardcover) and we're basically progressing our way through the lot. If I stop re-reading stuff over and over again, I'll probably reach my goal a lot sooner.

Personally, I think it's quite difficult for anyone to have read less than 6 books unless they have never been to school. Most of us would have at least had a few Shakespeares and Austens rammed down our throats by the time our GCSEs came round.

If you're thinking of what to put on your kick-the-bucket list, this is as good a place to start as any...although I'd be tempted to leave out one or two of the recommended items. A couple of the above seem to be rather dubious choices to me. I mean, The Princess Diaries. Seriously?

Now that I have wasted your time, feel free to return the favour. After all, you've got nothing else better to do. Right?

PS - A solar-powered eReader would not be amiss here (if one hasn't already been invented). Just thinking about that island I could get marooned on...

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14 February 2010

One Avatar - Many Faces

"In the New York Times the liberal critic Adam Cohen praises
Avatar for championing the need to see clearly. It reveals, he says,
'a well-known ­principle of totalitarianism and genocide – that it is
easiest to oppress those we cannot see'. But in a marvellous unconscious
irony, he bypasses the crashingly obvious metaphor and talks instead
about the light it casts on Nazi and Soviet atrocities."

- Avatar Review on Comment is Free by George Monbiot

Sorry? What was that again?

Silly me. There I was thinking Avatar's just a straightforward 'good vs evil - boy gets girl' kind of tale.

Should have known better.

It's really about the Nazis...or maybe communism, depending on who you ask. And if you read the comments below said article, it's obvious some viewers saw more than a new incarnation of
Dances with Wolves crossed with Ferngully.

I know 3D glasses are meant to help you see things in a different perspective, but I doubt they're meant to expand your vision in quite this fashion. It's not difficult to work out how some of us arrived at the pro-eco analogy, and perhaps the not-so-subtle jibe at colonisation. I'll admit even I noticed the parallels. But for god's sake, why spoil something by over-analysing it?

Avatar isn't supposed to be profound. It's meant to be a CGI showcase (and a damned good one it is too). That's why they kept the story simple. Many iconic films have pretty basic plots - Star Wars (I am referring to the original unremastered trilogy here, not George Lucas's later offering) and ET didn't exactly explore themes that were particularly deep, but it didn't stop generations of us from enjoying them.

Sometimes, we ought to just sit back, relax, and take entertainment at face value...And more importantly, make sure you go to the bloody toilet beforehand, because some movies are pretty long and Avatar happens to be one of them.

PS - Forgot to add...Gong Xi Fa Cai and Happy Valentine's Day to all, whichever one you celebrate. David has been raising awareness for Vulcan to the Sky, so to show my support, I got most of his presents either from or through their website. CNY wish to the Vulcan XH558 - Live Long and Prosper!

PS again - If you're into celluloid dissection, here's a zero-fuss Oscar breakdown on the aptly named ShortFormBlog.

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01 January 2010

Happy Fuckin' Everything

Seemed like a good time to say it.

What a year 2009 has been...Despite
an initial grim outlook brought on by the recession, office fire, swine flu etc etc, I think we've done rather well on the whole. I'm still in one piece anyway. Plus, loved ones all safe and sound, not forgetting a roof over our heads, so that's got to count for something. There are many who can't say that.

I even managed to get along with the voices inside my head.
One of them, rather worryingly, tried to convince me that our back garden would be a good location for a rocket launchpad. I could foresee funding would be a huge problem. But I wasn't prepared for the council to turn down my planning application. They didn't say why either.

Ah well, back to the mundane...

A few days ago, I came across an application on Facebook that builds a summary of all your status updates for the year, and noticed something interesting. A lot of my messages were food-related. Because of that, I ended up creating two collages, with the second one minus the culinary obsession.

Food Status 09

I couldn't fit it all in...It's a bit like reliving your memories, though I ought to stop since this is making me drool. I had cake and Hoisin Duck rolls just now, but already I am feeling peckish...again. I think there may be another box of chocolates lying around.

Status Updates 09

Even after removing statuses that mentioned anything edible (quite difficult since there were so many), I still had trouble getting the rest on. Hmm...Random selection isn't the best way to get an accurate picture what I got up to really. A year is a long time after all!

Anyhow, the past is the past and we have to move on.

I haven't got a new year's resolution, although I do have certain projects lined up that may cause me to blog less often...such as re-vamping my site and building a Retro Radio PC. Hmm...Didn't we have the same conversation last year?

We shall have to see...In either case, I'd like to wish everyone all the best for 2010. I'd drink to that, only I'd rather be the smug bitch now smirking at everyone who's got a hangover from last night. It's great being teetotal!

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30 December 2009

Get in Line


"David never knew his real parents. He was adopted by a couple
'who never should have been allowed to have a child',
and ran away from home aged 16.

He is 40 and has lived on the street ever since. Can't he get a job?
'I have tried, but they don't take into account you might be soaked
to the skin, or exhausted.'

Do you get depressed? 'Of course I do. But I try to keep a lid on it.'

Can't the Government get you a bedsit? 'I don't want a bedsit,' he says.
'I want what you have.' " - I've Never Liked the Homeless
by Liz Jones

Oh yeah?! You, and how many thousands of others?

I want a nice big house, a highly-paid job, and lots of lovely luxuries too, but I am far far away from getting any of that.

However, if I were homeless or about to become so, I wouldn't say no to a bedsit either...And I didn't, even though it was more like a shoebox. We all have to start somewhere.

No one can help you unless you first help yourself.

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24 December 2009

The Apocalypse Draws Nigh

"This is the story of how the belief that the world has to fight the
threat of global warming has crept to the top of the political agenda,
to the point where, not just in Britain but across the world, governments
are solemnly discussing by far the most costly series of measures
any bunch of politicians has proposed."
I would be far more concerned about running out of fuel, if I were they.

Temperatures on earth have been rising and falling over billions of years, and evidence that man's pre-dominantly responsible is far from conclusive (particularly since our existence only counts for a tiny fraction of the evolutionary timeline). However, the danger of exhausting current energy supply is beyond dispute, and more likely to affect us sooner than the need to seek inspiration from a certain biblical shipwright.

It's difficult to decide who to believe. One minute we're being told the climate is heating up, and the next, that it's actually getting cooler. One source claims it's to do with our wanton abuse of power, and another that climate change is caused by sunspot activity or planetary movements.

If scientists bicker amongst themselves as to the cause of these changes (or worse - whether any of these changes have even occurred), who are we to turn to for a decent explanation? Politicians seem to think they're the ones to lead us out of this crisis.

That alone triggers my bullshit radar and sets off all alarms at full blast.

Don't get me wrong, I am not completely pooh-poohing warmists. Despite the alarmist attitude, these people do have a point. We haven't got an infinite amount of resources, so keep on using them and
what we have will gradually drain away. That's surely got to have some kind of impact on life around us. Assuming all emails were genuine, Climategate was a huge blow, not just to the global warming cause but to the whole environmental movement.

Eco-terrorists may not be trustworthy (or rational), yet the same could be said of sceptics who have their own selfish agenda.
Both extremes are equally harmful, and when governments start sticking their oars in, it's not just rising sea levels we have to worry's the cost as well. All this money is patching up something alright, but it's not our ecosystem.

Not one to get hysterical about CO2 emissions, I am far less likely to feel any enthusiasm when politicians (and by extension, large corporations, including those that back research teams) get involved. All this makes the stench of exploitation difficult to ignore.

It's not a worldwide conspiracy as much as it is a spectacle of human nature and public gullibility. Greed can be a great motivator. So long as there are millions still to be made from oil, the powers-that-be are hardly going to put their heart and soul into finding us an alternative...Not immediately anyway. Regardless, they must be seen to be doing something right now, if only to shut everyone up.

Oooh, here's an idea! Let's shout very loudly about what's being done to reduce our carbon footprint.

Fuel conservation, hybrid inventions, recycling, population control etc - these measures do buy us more time.
But whether in this lifetime or our descendants', that meter's bound to tick over with us humans finding ourselves the same place as the dinosaurs...So, no pressure then!

There has only ever been one answer; everything else is damage control, a means to delay the inevitable.

Unless we discover another planet to plunder, our continued survival depends very much on securing an energy supply that's renewable. Happily, the latter possibility isn't that far from fruition. We even have quite a few choices, from hydro-power to nuclear fusion. All that's required is further research and development, and someone with a bit of common sense to invest in it. Let's hope he's rich too.

Forget the doomsday scenarios you've been force-fed. If the world ends tomorrow, it'll more likely be due to the lack of anything meaningful on TV. What will the masses do now X Factor is over? And Big Brother soon to be history too. It's practically a double catastrophe!

The human race is not beyond overcoming the fuel crisis, nor is it likely to become extinct...well, not until the sun burns itself out billions of years later. But that's a different matter entirely. When that happens, we will be well and truly fucked.

Space exploration, anyone?

Relevant Information:
Q&A - The Copenhagen Climate Summit
Climategate - The Final Nail in the Coffin
The Devastating Book Which Debunks Climate Change
Sceptics Welcome BBC Report on Global Cooling
Whatever Happened to Global Warming?
Where Have All the Sunspots Gone?
Earth Approaching Sunspot Records

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23 December 2009

No Sympathy for the Devil

"The brothers Munir and Tokeer Hussain were sentenced,
respectively, to 30 months and 39 months in prison last week
for beating a fleeing burglar with a cricket bat so severely
that he suffered brain damage.
Brain damage? Oh, what a shame.

They should have hit him harder...One less chav for the world to worry about.

There are not many amongst us who would grieve for the loss of yet another criminal, particularly a repeat offender who failed to learn his lesson 50 convictions ago. Most would more likely empathise with the Hussain family, and those employees who are now no doubt suffering as a result of Munir's imprisonment.

Beating the shit out of a burglar is going a bit too far, it has been noted (and rather sanctimoniously). But then again, I am not too sure how rational I would be if someone invaded my home to steal my hard-earned property, tied up me and my family, then threatened us at knife-point. Some people never recover from such an ordeal, you know.

A criminal who decides to break into someone's house should,
at the point of entry, forever leave all his rights behind. As the saying goes, if you choose to live by the sword, expect to die by it.

Some of these lowlife scum behave worse than animals...I would not even consider them human. Walid Salem had it coming.

Nevertheless, the authorities cannot be seen to condone vigilante action. As you may have noticed, I have no moral objection to taking a life as such (depending on circumstances), but we can't have everyone going around dispensing their own brand of justice. Otherwise, there would be no point in having a legal system, and it'll be chaos all round.

However, a jail term of 30 months (almost three years) is a tad excessive for a generally law-abiding citizen. That is the only true tragedy in this case. Personally, I felt all the Hussain brothers should have received was a slap on the wrist and perhaps some time doing community service.

Victims take the law into their own hands when they no longer believe in it...Were the authorities more competent, none of this would be happening. I often wonder what these people are being paid so much money to do.

Certainly not keeping the streets safe from the likes of
Craig 'Lazie' Lynch, I can tell you that!

He's not the only dangerous convict on the loose. Oh, it gets worse! But our government's more interested in taxing motorists, sending our soldiers off to die, building new airports, and fighting internet piracy of course.

Good to see they've got their priorities right!

Relevant Articles:
Little Justice for the Brothers Who Beat a Burglar
Johnson Sympathetic to Jailed Brothers

Self-Defence Rights Against Burglars May be Increased

Munir Hussain: The Real Problem is Rising Crime, Not Self-Defence

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08 December 2009

Santa for a Day


Sadly, I did not have any presents to give out, though I am hoping that money we raised for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust will more than make up for it.

As you've no doubt gathered by now, we took part in a charity walk which also required us to dress up as Santa during the hour-long stroll.

Despite the chill of winter, everyone got into the spirit of things and soon warmed up. The walk was quite muddy, and some areas were slippery, but the hardest part was getting the sponsorship. Nine of us did it as a group (including three children), and at last count, donations were up to £130.

Not bad at all! I'm quite pleased with the results, since my organisation was pretty last minute. Still, we had fun!

A video we took of the event will be uploaded in due course, and I will update this blog to reflect that.

In the meantime, I'd like to wish y'all Happy HO-HO-HO-lidays!!!

UPDATED: 25 December 2009 @ 11:32

I've been getting really fed-up with YouTube because of the way they've been handling audio. These unreasonable restrictions placed on the use of music have driven me to Vimeo and Viddler, and the former is where I have just uploaded the video of the Smithills Santa Stroll.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas.

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22 November 2009

Nothing tastes as good...

kris chocolate cake feels...when it melts in your mouth.

Kate Moss has the wrong idea
. Nothing beats the taste of good food (apart from sex maybe). Don't get me wrong, I do love my figure, but I love eating just as much. Eating is a part of enjoying life, so I feel no guilt whatsoever when indulging in this daily pleasure. There are healthy ways to stay trim, and starving yourself isn't one of them.

Much to be expected, the media reacted unfavourably towards Kate Moss's words of wisdom. There were, however, more than a few stragglers who took her side. Face the Fat Facts, from The Mirror, being one of them. Strangely enough, that opinion piece has been taken offline now, so this link will lead you to a cached version.
"Being thin is healthier than being fat. It's more attractive.
Clothes look better on you if you're thin. Not skinny. Not anorexic.
Thin. Go figure."
By and large, I agree with Fiona Phillips's argument. There is a difference between being bony, and being slim. I draw the line the moment someone begins to look ill and haggard as a result of weight loss.

Contrary to orthodox views generated to make the majority of us feel more comfortable with our bodies, slim women are more attractive in shape - hourglass as opposed to barrel.

As an example, take a look at the pictures below: two women in the same dress, one larger than the other. There's just no contest. Kelly Brooke, despite being skinnier, is actually curvier.

slim curves

It's about proportion, not size. To have the right curves, you need a pretty narrow waist (as compared to wider shoulders and hips), and thinner women seem to have more luck in that department. Everything else is down to genes and bone structure, though muscular development can often overcome the latter two factors.
"Her motto has been taken out of context and blamed
for creating more anorexic teenage girls. Tosh."
It is true that most women would rather be slim than fat, and since not everyone can be blessed with a high metabolic rate, most would also have to control their diet to keep the pounds from piling on. However, Kate Moss's comment is dangerous (and quite frankly, stupid) in a climate obsessed with celebrities, even the irresponsible drug-fuelled ones such as herself.

"Equally, fat is seen as the path to misery and lack of success,
yet obesity is on the rise. Is Dawn French responsible for that?
Of course she's not. You are what you eat."

Hmm...Dawn French doesn't have quite the same glamorous influence on girls either.

Those older and wiser among us would be able to appreciate Kate Moss's hyperbole and dismiss it as humour, but young girls mistakenly look up to her as a role model whether we like it or not, and many will take her statements literally.

I very much doubt the supermodel did not see this backlash coming. She strikes me as the sort of person who does and says whatever she likes and believes she can get away with it. Perhaps a part of her enjoys winding the public up. Giles Coren is right when he describes her as 'undeniably powerful'.

(Think how damaging his remarks would be to the body image and confidence of those girls he described as
"sour-faced, lying vixens" with "livid skin, foul breath and hairy backs" if they truly are ill! His voice of resentment isn't exactly helping a cause.)

Moss's message is sending out all the wrong signals; it implies that being skinny is paramount. Perhaps for a model whose livelihood depends on her good looks, it is crucial that she conforms to the stereotype. But even so, is being attractive all that motivates her, so much so that it is her life's motto?

Is there nothing, NOTHING, more important than being skinny? What about being healthy or spending time with your loved ones?

Some might say that I can afford a smug holier-than-thou attitude since nature has bestowed upon me a body that burns up calories much faster than I can consume them, coupled with a petite frame due to my Oriental heritage. I have always managed to fit into XXS clothing from the age of 14 up till now, without being denied my fair share of chocolate, cheese, junk food, and other gastronomical delights.
Yes, I am lucky. I can have my cake and eat it.

Yet, there are many other women out there without my attributes who still look better than Kate Moss and me. They did not achieve that surviving on rabbit food.
A wholesome lifestyle of eating sensibly and exercising regularly got them where they are today.

You just can't argue with the science.
Moderation is the key here, and definitely a better motto by far.

Other Articles:
Kate Moss - An icon of Willpower and Strength
Lighten Up - Kate Moss is Right
Kate Moss's Motto Gives Comfort to Pro-Anorexic Community

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30 October 2009

Who's got a rotten egg to spare?

"The BNP leader Nick Griffin completed filming for his controversial
appearance on Question Time this evening, hours after anti-fascist
protesters breached security and broke into BBC Television Centre."
It changes nothing.

Those who now openly support the BNP have always been that way inclined, some perhaps to a greater degree than others. Likewise for the other camp.

Assuming the BNP have not lied about the apparent success of their debut on Question Time, a surge of wannabe members on their site is to be expected. US counterpart had a similar experience when it went down due to a spike in site traffic after Obama won the election.

BNP's sudden increase in potential recruits only demonstrates the number of people who have been less vocal about their views up till now, still a pretty small percentage of the entire UK population - about 3k out of 61m or so. Whether they can maintain a growth at this rate remains to be seen.
"It's called Democracy. It's not pretty, but it's the
least evil we humans can make."
A mere glimpse of Griffin's face is enough to make me attach mine to the sick bucket, the contents of which destined to trace the same arc as these eggs.


Yet, I was willing to endure an hour's worth of Gitler in the name of free speech. Or perhaps I was secretly hoping someone would throttle him halfway through...No chance of that, the audience was too civilised compared to the blood-thirsty horde gathered outside.

The irony of a fascist party using democracy as a platform to gain publicity isn't lost on me, but silencing the BNP will only encourage them to accuse the rest of us of being two-faced. I learnt nothing new from Griffin's performance, but at least most of us gained some satisfaction in watching both Nick Griffin and Jack Straw squirm.

Let's face it, the BNP didn't get this far because more people are starting to find them agreeable, but because less people are willing to trust politicians and their empty promises. They don't bother to vote because they have lost their faith in the system, and the blame for this can be laid squarely at the feet of our esteemed Lord Chancellor a
nd the government.

Admittedly, the 'fabled' BNP leader did not come across as self-assured as previously depicted by the media. Somewhat of a disappointment, since I expected him to put up a bit more of a fight. Then again, playing the victim could have been a ploy. Not that it moved many people, judging from the resulting response.

240 complaints (relating to bias) out of 8 million viewers is, again, a very small proportion...especially when you take into account the growing millions of slaps, eggs, curried dishes etc, directed Gitler's way via websites so inundated with hits that they were compelled to call it a day.

Hmmm...hardly a martyr.

There is a reason why BBC One had far more than its usual number of viewers that night. We were all aware of what would happen...and so did Nick Griffin. He is many things, but he is most certainly not naive. Griffin sauntered into this spectacle with his eyes wide open.

It would have been interesting to hear how he felt our current problems ought to be approached, such as the present state of the NHS, rising levels of crime, plus other economic and administrative issues.

...Good job we never got that far; he could barely answer questions that were put to him in the first place!
All Griffin managed to do was stutter, and deny things he'd said and done in the past, even those caught on video.

A bit pointless to be on Question Time if you're too cowardly to stand by your own beliefs, let alone propagate them!

Someone who sits there sweating away (he was actually shaking towards the end), and unable to make himself coherent does not strike me as particularly rational or competent.
Only those seriously deluded would think such a piteous creature capable of handling the day-to-day running of a country. No wonder members of his own party expressed dismay at his softly-softly approach.
"Maybe some coaching could of been done so that
Mr Griffin could of answered any questions articulately."
Gitler couldn't even offer anything constructive about what ought to be done about current immigration problems, surely a subject central to the BNP constitution (which will soon be forced to change). In the end, it was Warsi who pulled Jack Straw up short for his and his party's failings. She was also the only one who pointed out that immigration has nothing to do with skin colour, making Griffin's argument about rights for 'indigenous people' sound even less relevant.

Next to Bonnie Greer, he appeared an ignorant liar who had not done his homework. With the historical and scientific inaccuracies spewing forth from his mouth, I wonder how Nick Griffin ever came to be a Cambridge graduate. He is either truly racist (and most assuredly homophobic), or so power-hungry he will say and do anything that he believes will make him the next Hitler.

"BNP leader Nick Griffin complained today that he had
been the victim of a 'lynch mob' following his controversial
appearance on the BBC's Question Time."
Sympathy for Griffin is the thin end of the wedge. He got exactly what he desired, just so he could indulge in a display of his trademark boo-hooing. Question Time was a good reflection of popular opinion. Yes, the BNP had a few supporters in there, but their contribution was overwhelmed by the majority who opposed them.

If Nick Griffin is allowed to have his say, then by that same token, so did everyone else on Question Time. I think the sheer volume of criticism piled on him is good indication that the BNP and its supporters are the true minority.

With any luck, we won't have to suffer a repeat exhibition of the giant vibrator. It was amusing while it lasted, but as a friend of mine so eloquently put it, it's time for him to
"follow his own party's advice and fuck off back to where he came from - the marginals".

Relevant Sites:
Anti-Fascist Protestors Charge BBC
Nick Griffin Attacked by His Own Supporters over Question Time
Question Time a 'Lynchmob', Complains Griffin
BNP's Indigenous Britons were Neanderthals
Babes of the BNP


Updated: 22 November 2009 @ 21:52

I have observed some criticism elsewhere regarding Baroness Warsi's comment that there is no such thing as 'bogus Asylum Seekers'.
I suspect she's just being a little pedantic. In her book, true Asylum Seekers ought to be accommodated. But those who lie to achieve that legal status ought not to be classed as Asylum Seekers in the first place, and for the purpose of this debate, should therefore be excluded...much in the same way that 'indigenous' has no place in the argument. How far back does Griffin want to go? According to one definition, you need only be born in the region to be considered as such.

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06 September 2009

Oldies but Goodies


I was browsing through some old files the other day, and found a message that I had posted on a very old website of mine (this was long before blogging became mainstream). It was actually more like a forum than a personal site, so there were quite a few contributors. I've lost much of the poetry and prose that used to be on there, but here's one that I'm glad I managed to hold on to.

None of the writing from the section below is my own, but it made enough of an impression on me to find the story worth sharing.

I'd first read it in a women's magazine called Cleo many years back. The February issue in 1996 to be exact, so it had all your usual Valentines' Day blurb. However, instead of your average Editor's Letter, a simple love story
(with few embellishments) was written, and it proved far more effective. To this day, it remains one of the most moving tales I've ever read, and never fails to unlock the floodgates. Eating wasabe or chopping onions are only second to this, which explains why I tore the article out and stashed it away as a keepsake.

I'm not the most romantic person in the world, but every now and then I lapse into such behaviour...I suppose I wanted desperately to believe things like that could happen, and thought that if I held on to it long enough, I just might find true love as well. It took two years for my 'good luck charm' to work. Still, better late than never!!

I know it's not quite the right time of year, but love flourishes in all seasons anyway, not just on Valentines' Day. Anyhow, you bloody well better like it, 'cos it took me awhile to type everything, with my tear ducts working overtime even before I finished the job.

Perhaps you ought to have the Kleenex ready as well.


From the Editor:

Let me tell you a story I once heard - a Spanish love story. I don't know whether or not it's true - I'd like to think it is - but I'll tell it to you anyway.

Many years ago, when the sun burned orange all day and the night was wet with the smell of green moss and summer, two young Spanish lovers met in a little fishing village. Each day they would walk barefoot along the great winding dust road, and they would buy bread from the old merchant with a crooked smile. They would sit beneath the old olive tree and talk and laugh and warm their faces in the sun. It was beneath this olive tree that Pedro first kissed Esmirada.

They shared their dreams with each other - Esmirada wanted to study art in Italy and one day become a famous artist. Pedro spoke of becoming the wealthiest man in Spain. But they were young. And when the time came for Esmirada to go off and study, she refused to leave.

Her love had grown so strong, she told Pedro, that she feared leaving him for even a moment would surely destroy her. They held each other beneath the olive tree and they wept.

The next day, Esmirada waited for Pedro on the hill above the dirt road, but he never came. Nor did he come the next day, or the day after that...

Esmirada was heartbroken. Although she searched for Pedro for many days, she never found him. She wrote to him. He never replied. Devastated, she left for Italy.

Esmirada studied for several years and became a sculptor. She sculpted many fine pieces, but her most cherished creation was a replica of the old olive tree she knew as a girl. She eventually became famous, and at her first big international exhibition, the olive tree was sold for a large sum of money. The design was so special that many art collectors wanted Esmirada to create olive trees for their own collections. But she never sculpted another one. It was a one-off, she said.

Forty years passed, and Esmirada retired a wealthy and successful artist. She had married, had many children and lived in a beautiful house. Sometimes, she would think back to those warm afternoons under the olive tree, and from time to time, she would wonder...

Then one day, she received a letter. It was from the attorneys of Pedro Bandida saying that he had passed away. In his will, he stipulated that all his property would be left to her. Attached was a short letter that read:

"To my dear Esmirada,

I became what I always dreamed I would. I am a man of great wealth, perhaps even the richest man in Spain. My fortune is greater than any man could dream of and I leave it all to you - my one and only true love."

So Esmirada made the trip to Spain.

She travelled to the little fishing village and walked barefoot along the great winding dust road. She bought a loaf of bread from the old merchant's store, but the old merchant had long since died. She sat beneath the old olive tree and turned her face to the sun. And she drank in the air.

Afterwards, she got a driver to take her to the address she had been given. Before her stood a beautiful mansion. She entered, and finding the palatial home full of Persian carpets and ornate paintings and gold trimmings, she felt her heart break for the second time.

Esmirada was greeted by a man who told her, "I am the brother of Pedro. I am sorry if you have made this long journey in search of wealth. My brother was a foolish man, and you have obviously been led astray. He did not own this opulent home - I do. He was a poor man with no money. He invested what little possessions he had many years ago and now, all there is to show for it are the contents of this box."

And the brother showed Esmirada to a tall cardboard box sitting in a corner of the room gathering dust.

"But he said in his letter that he was a man of great wealth," Esmirada whispered to no one in particular.

She opened the box, and found a note inside. It read:

"To my dear Esmirada,

To experience true love - whether it is long-lasting or just for a fleeting moment - is to find eternal wealth."

And it was signed:

"From the world's richest man."

The note was attached to a sculpted olive tree that had once belonged to a poor Spanish man who had sold off all his worldly possessions to buy it more than forty years before.

Enjoy this month's fabulous Cleo love special.

- Gina Johnson


I was also going to post stuff from the other files I've found on my system, but then decided it best to just leave you with this...

...For now.

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