Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eat Up

I remember my mother telling me to eat breakfast. The most important meal of the day they say. Well now I find that by regularly eating breakfast my sexual enlightenment was delayed. How annoyed am I! If only I had realised that was where I was going wrong. You can bet I would have cut out the toast in the morning at uni.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wobble

"A" has her first wobbly tooth. She is so exited. And she can't keep her fingers out of her mouth. I have told her that if she pulls it out too early then blood will flow from her mouth like vomit, but she doesn't seem to believe me. The funny thing is that "J" has a "thing" about wobbly teeth and hates it (only another 19 to go!). It doesn't worry me at all so I just laugh. And I can still remeber the worst thing about wobbly teeth, it's when you are fiddling with one and manage to spin it 180 degrees in the socket but then it gets stuck!!!! Ah, happy days.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

PPPPPPP Pick Up

So, slightly behind the times with this one, it missed me at the time, but knighting a penguin? It seems a curious choice, a penguin, as a mascot. Especially for an elite troop such as the Kings Guard. You would think they would want something inspiring, fear provoking, grand even. A tiger, a polar bear, along those lines. But a penguin? Suitable if you were the Clowns troop maybe. What image are they trying to convey? The only thing worse would be an Okapi (ten bonus points if you can name that reference).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Aargh

I have spent most of this evening fighting with my computer. Horrible things. Hate them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

You Spin Me Right Round Baby, Right Round

I am a little out of synch because I am now going to blog about yesterdays riding lesson. But, as nothing much happened today, this seems allowable.

I haven't been able to go riding for the last two weeks. Someone have, rather inconsiderately, taken what I consider to be MY slot. It is perfectly timed to coincide with "A"s lesson and I don't want to leave her hanging around for 30 minutes. Or, to be honest, I don't want her watching me for half an hour. So a few weeks agao I cleverly booked ahead so that I could get my slot back. Very pleased to be going riding again yesterday. I had missed it. To be fair, the last lesson had been really frustrating. Wolfie had not wanted to play along and I just couldn't get him to canter more than a few strides. I was having to kick so hard to get him going that I was then losing my balance. I felt rather better last week when I watched someone else riding Wolfie and they were faring worse. It might be unfair to take succour from another troubles but seeing her unable to stop him and having to ride him into the corner of the school did cheer me up somewhat (he was at the walk so no risk of damage to him or rider).

There, so I was looking forward to the lesson yesterday. We arrived. The yard was being set up for some show jumping. The jumps were in the indoor arena. Where the youngsters have their lessons. O well I thought, they will probably go out for a hack and I will have the outdoor school as usual. It was about then that I realised that while I was going to be in the outdoor school, so were the children, at the other end. This meant they (in particular my daughter) would be able to watch. In addition, all the parents, who are normally indoors as well, would be watching their loved ones and, by default, me. This was a disconcerting turn of events. It is one thing to be a fool in front of a nice and understanding (and to be honest fairly cute) instructor, rather another to do it in front of a host of other people.

Luckily I had had a rather good idea. I asked for a whip. The theory in my head being that with a whip I wouldn't have to kick as much, would therefore maintain my balance, and ultimately would manage to canter properly. And, I am pleased to say, the theory worked. Well, worked enough. Wolfie is a big horse. Cantering in a circle is not a strong point for him, he doesn't like corners. So, while I did manage a canter, I can't profess to have been in as much control as is desirable. I just hope that the spectators thought I meant to spiral him in at a canter and stop just short of running over the instructor.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Olympia

For years I have wanted to go to the Olympia Horse Show. Today we went. And it lived up to expectation. Wonderful fun. So much happening and all kinds of different bits to the show. "A" was able to sit through it all as well, with only a little bit of boredom during the long show jumping in the second half. But she really enjoyed it and wants to go again next year. So do I.

The only problem was the getting there. Problems at South Kensington meant that the train was very delayed. We were on the underground and it was stuck at a station. The driver kept giving us updates but he was a little odd. When we were about to leave he actually said "Alllllll abooooaaaarrrrd". Then at one point he said "by the law of averages we should get moving soon"!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Guest Number One

I've been in Edinburgh today. I was never going to make it home but thought I would set off and put an hour or so under my belt so it is a shorter journey tomorrow. After an hour driving I quizzed the sat nav to find a hotel nearby. It found me Auchen Castle. I rang and they had a room. Not all rooms have wi-fi so I nearly didn't stop, but I could see it from the road and it looked nice, whereas the weather and driving was horrible. Despite the fact that it is a castle the prices were extremely (and I mean extremely, better than the Holiday Inn last night) reasonable. And I do have wi-fi in the room after all, which is great, I don't have to sit in the lounge in my undies to blog and plurk!

Anyway, to the point. Despite the fact that this is a lovely place, I am the only guest. That's right, the only one. I am not sure I have ever stayed in a hotel before and been the only guest. It is weird. Very weird. The closest I can come to describing it is think of the first time you had to stay with your prospective parents in law. Do you see what I mean? Each course of your meal they are desperate that you are happy, you are saying thank you every time you see them. They are trying to look after you. You are trying not to be too intrusive. everyone making loads of effort to make sure everyone else is happy. They want you to be glad you chose them. You want to seem unobtrusive, don't want to be disturbing their time.

Still, it's a wonderful hotel, and this bathrobe is just so cosy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

I hadn't really wanted to read this. I picked it up because of a 3 for 2 offer and I couldn't spot anything else. So somewhat ironic that I couldn't put it down once I started.

At times shocking, if it is anything near an accurate description of the Taliban then this is a very sad world. But in reality it is about a man trying to find redemption, haunted by the ghosts of his past.

The descriptive passages are beautiful and work well to make you feel there. Certainly some of the plot line is a bit predictable, at times Hosseini almost telegraphs what will happen in 5 to 10 pages time. Because some of these things are so sad in some ways it is nice to have prior warning as the shock is less. In fact that may be why he does it. Almost a "brace yourself, bad news coming" approach. So don't even start this book if you are looking for a feelgood factor. It isn't going to raise you up there. But if you appreciate beautiful writing with a well woven storyline then this is for you.

Quotes:
"You're gutless. It's how you were made. And that's not such a bad thing because your saving grace is that you've never lied to yourself about it. Not about that. Nothing wrong with cowardice as long as it comes with prudence. But when a coward stops remembering who he is.. God help him. "

"Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it."

"I piss on the beards of all those self-righteous monkeys. "

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Slight Rambling

OK, trying to write Christmas Cards after a martini and a bottle of wine may not have been a great idea. And I will come back to that. But the martini bit of that sentence. I have never been a great cocktail fan. Then a few weeks ago in a rather nice London hotel for some unknown reason I decided to have a Ginger Cosmopolitan. It was probably the "ginger" in the title that did it, rather a liker of ginger am I. But for whatever reason I ordered it, and wow, wonderful refreshing drink with a nice kick to it. Now, a I understand it, and I am a bit vague on this, a cosmopolitan is basically an abused martini. So I bought the ingredients for a martini, and for a cosmopolitan, as well as some rather nive cocktail glasses (which may call for the camera at some point). And tonight made a rather strong martini. I think cocktails will ahve to be a weekend thing, otherwise nothing will get done.

Anyway, Christmas Cards. Over the last few years I have been trying to cut down on cards. It's a tough thing because peope can feel left out and forgotten. But I feel the whole purpose of Christmas is served better by a donation to charity. So, if you don't get a card from me it doesn't mean I am not thinking of you - at this time of year I am thinking of all of you, thanking the Grand Architect for my friends, praying for your health and happiness for the coming year. But if you will feel upset about not receiving a card then please let me know, I will be happy to sen you one.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Have You Got It?

Words cannot begin to describe how pleased I am that the X Factor is over. While I like the theory of us having a family evening, it is one thing to be watching a film, quite a different one to watch the X Factor. The reality is that I have ended up in the corner working on the computer while the others watch the singing. But at least this year the finalists could sing. The only good one last year was Rhydian. I was rather worried that Eowain (is that how it was spelt) would win, the Irish and Granny vote seemed his for sure. Instead it came through to Alexandra or JLS. Then they sang Hallelujah. And there is no question, JLS should have won. I had goosebumps as they sang. Now, Hallelujah has a special place for me after it played during a scene in West Wing, and anyone who has seen that scene will know why it is so moving. So I am now disapppointed that the JLS version won't be available to buy. Alexandra was good, and I am pleased for her, but the nation got it wrong.

And the original:

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Ting Tings - Be The One

I haven't yet thanked 1iz for introducing me to the Ting Tings, so thank you 1iz:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Keeping A Seat Warm

Last night was the first meeting I attended as a Past Master, specifically the Immediate Past Master. Unfortunately work commitments meant I had missed the last two meetings. It's very odd being IPM. 8 years or so ago I started on the "ladder", each year taking on a new office and each year getting more to do. Then it culminated in the year in The Chiar, with an incredible amount to do and no reading of books for a year as I learnt all my lines. And suddenly you are over the crest and it isn't a gentle slope down, it's a plummet. I had all of four lines to learn for last night. That is one evening of learning, no more. And during the ceremony my main role is acting as prompt if anyone gets stuck. It serves as a good lesson in humility, from the most important in the Lodge to someone who is, frankly, expendable. And maybe that is the final lesson to learn on the path from Initiate to IPM.

But, that said, it was a good night. For the first time I was able to sit next to my father during the ceremony, and that was nice. And it was good to see friends, to share in the seasons goodwill to others.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I Am Not A Number




You Are 4: The Individualist



You are sensitive and intuitive, with others and yourself.

You are creative and dreamy... plus dramatic and unpredictable.



You're emotionally honest, real, and easily hurt.

Totally expressive, others always know exactly how you feel.



At Your Best: You are inspired, artistic, and introspective. You know what you're thinking, and you can communicate it well.



At Your Worst: You are melancholy, alienated, and withdrawn.



Your Fixation: Envy



Your Primary Fear: To have no identity



Your Primary Desire: To find yourself



Other Number 4's: Alanis Morisette, Johnny Depp, J.D. Salinger, Jim Morrison, and Anne Rice.

And In The Silver Car

F1 is going through some hard times at the moment. It remains to be seen whether its return to the BBC next year will be a good thing. Having Murray Walker back as a commentator sounds good. Not so sure of the wisdom of having Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard as the pundits though. Eddies job is going to be hard though as he will ahve to cover for two very quickly, as Coulthard will wander away after the first 5 laps - for the last few years he has forgotten that a race goes on longer than that.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sick Too

I find that I get a lot of hits for my post discussing the "Logon process has failed to create the security options dialog" error message. This seems to be a continuing problem. I have posted a comment to the that post, but paste it as a new post as well as it may help:

The simplest and most reliable way to fix this problem is to uninstall "Service Pack 1". My computer is fine when that isn't installed, every so often it does a forced install, the problem returns, I uninstall and the problem goes.

Now the real problem, some programmes will only run if you have the Service Pack installed, something about resource allocation. So I can no longer uninstall. I have almost fixed it (meaning it is now an intermittent problem rather than constant problem). Turn of the side bar and Windows Defender. I believe that Windows Defender "argues" with other applications, such and anti-viral software.

There is a trick to turning off Windows Defender. It is a crafty little thing. First go in to "Programs", find Windows Defender, open it and turn it off. But, despite doing this, when you reboot your computer Windows Defender will still be running but in silent mode, ie it's running in "off" mode. To stop it running when you reboot you now need to go into msconfig (use the search bar). You will find "Windows Defencder" under the "Services" tab, AND IT IS STILL TICKED!!!!! Untick it. Ignore the warnings. And there you go.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Goodbye

It will just never be the same again. Terry Wogan is leaving Eurovision. All those barbed comments, the irony, the sarcasm. The Eurovision organisers may have complained about him but they are about to realise he was the best thing about the competition.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Open Up

In a world suffering from so much trouble, a Beach Hut Advent Calender is a beautiful inspired, and peaceful idea.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Splash

Take a moment to contemplate how on earth Synchronised Swimming has got funding for the Olympics when Athletics, or even Table Tennis, haven't. Remember that Boris said Ping Pong is coming home, not Flipper.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Now You See Me....

I believe in medicines. Obviously as a vet I should, after all I use them. But I also believe in some (note some) alternative therapies. I used to use acupuncture to treat some animals. And with animals it is hard to see how it can be a placebo effect (although there can be a placebo of the owner perceiving improvement). But with humans "mind over matter" can be important. And it is sometimes to do with fooling the mind into thinking itself better. And there may be no better example than using binoculars to reduce pain. That's right, looking at an injured body part can help reduce pain and swelling. But before any make readers start looking at certain parts of their anatomy and feeling good about themselves, the trick is to look through them from the wrong end. The idea is to make the affected part appear further away and smaller. The brain then sees less "risk" and is effectively less protective of the injury as it is more remote. It really is amazing how easy it is to fool our brain.