At the Final Count

Right, I have decided what my (public) New Years Resolutions are. Hold on to your hats!

1) 20 book reviews 13 short stories – already explained.

2) Play the saxophone regularly – every week, preferably more so. I read somewhere that if you start a saxophone diary you can keep track of what you have learned whether that be a trick or just a length of time without wobbling on a note. So, that will be a new blog.

3) Learn a German sentence every day. Whether that be 7 on a Sunday or one a day. This may be tough to remember to do let alone actually remember the sentences. Either way I’ll blog about that here.

4) Read the news everyday and formulate some opinions. Again, prepare yourself for news-y blog posts.

5) Remember to look after my health.

6) Already mentioned, write a list of books that I want to read and maintain this here.

I thought about spending less time online but then I realised if I did that my main form of social interaction (even if it is via social media) would be curtailed and there’s no guarantee that a real live person or people would fill the gap. So will just have to play that one by ear.

I think I’m done boring you with resolutions. We shall see how long they last. Can you tell I’m trying to fill my MSc time? Maybe this will all go to pot in February if I decide to start a PhD? We shall see.

Usually, I do a round-up of what I have achieved in the previous 12 months at this time of year but I am loath to do that here as it is a bit more personal and private. I might do it. It might be good therapy. It might not. I’ll think about it. I will say that I am generally feeling more positive so that is a very good thing.

Have a good week people!



Apparently English

I’ve been thinking about the New Year again. As you will have already read (no one reads this blog) I have decided that in 2013 I will read and review 20 assorted novels and write 13 short stories. That one still stands.

Then, I was sent a link to this: The Plain English Campaign (for the record I think this is a very good idea)and thought why not use it to increase my vocabulary too? Well, I read their A to Z of Alternative Words for those pompous moments and I use most of them regularly. The only words I have not used before (out of 35 pages full) were:

  • ameliorate (improve, help)
  • axiomatic (obvious)
  • evince (prove)
  • ex officio (because of his or her position)*
  • hold in abeyance (postpone)
  • profusion of (plenty)
  • promulgate (advertise)
  • pursuant to (under)

* singing in carols doesn’t count

I guess I’ll have to find a different way to learn some words. Any ideas? I should probably concentrate on German really. I shall look into appropriate ways to make this happen.

Also, I have decided it’s a sensible thing to write a list of the books I want to read. I hear lots of people do this.

And finally, not just cleaning up your home…



Zeitgeist: A Survey*

*No, not really.

Well, I thought I’d take a break from whittling (Twhittling) on about my MSc to update my poor forgotten blog – viewing figures are at an all time low due to essential traffic on the questionnaire (link on the right btw…*flashes winning smile*).

Unfortunately, I’m halfway through a very off the wall SF book. It’s innovative and well written but not what I should have chosen to read when I’m trying for mindless escapism during a flurry of academic brain activity. I really don’t want to put it down but might have to for a bit. All of this means I won’t be doing another book review for a while!

I just asked Twitter what I should blog about and this is the result (from one long-suffering Twitter mate):


Really not a huge fan of Politics of any kind. I certainly wouldn’t excel at satire although I do love Have I Got News For You and anything David Mitchell says.


Sherlock! I’m about to miss Sherlock!


I really want to see The Iron Lady. Could I have put this in Politics? Oh, and Sherlock Holmes (the film that seems to be always out at the same time as the TV show – good or bad timing?)


Tall Tales! That is the one and only time I will be gracing London with my presence in the near future. They’re recording a pitch for Listen and Often. I’m not sure how else I can help here.


I have a few.


I have some of that too.


Is something that we think we have but don’t. Look, I really don’t want to have to get too deep.


Did I mention I’m doing an MSc and need you to fill out my questionnaire?

Have a cute picture of a puppy**:


Zeitgeist Vier


Been a while… I’ve not really had anything funny to say but a night with the hilariously low-brow Nic has certainly helped.

Deutschland Noch Einmal

We went to Tall Tales which is a really fun night in Kilburn (London, not Derbyshire or York, which is incidentally near Thirkby High and Low with Osgodby – if only that were hyphenated – and some way away from Eskdaleside cum Ugglebarnby – say that in a North Yorks accent). Their podcast, Listen and Often, is really good too. If you ask me, which you haven’t, you should definitely listen to the podcast and try to go.

Harmless plug over.

I’ve been reading again. Don’t look so astounded. This time a trashy SF novel based on a film I never want to see: The Fifth Element. Any author who more than once a book, let alone page, uses phrases such as “Brat!brat!brat!brat! Brat!brat!brat!brat!” and “Buddabudda!BuddaBudda!” and “ClickityClick…” or similar is… well, I started laughing on page 91 and didn’t stop to the end. The book wasn’t that funny.

This is funny:

A man from out of space

Said, “I’m from a superior race.

You’re all inferior

While I’m superior.”

Then he tripped and fell flat on his face.

~Spike Milligan

Bis bald!


*plays saxophone softly into the night*

Zeitgeist Drei

First of many random photos of Germany - Fuessen.

Guten Abend!

A little bit of news from outside of The Village. Yesterday I went to see a recording of the very funny John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme, which is going to be a hilarious sketch show on Radio 4 at some point in September. There was a little drama involving a bomb scare (someone’s dirty laundry outside of the Greek Embassy) and a missed train ending in a very late night, or rather early morning, (2 minutes! 2 fecking minutes!) but all was well. I do love watching radio shows being recorded, more so than TV shows (nothing beats going to the theatre). I havent quite decided why. Probably something to do with watching old footage of The Goon Show being recorded. I grew up with The Goons. Not tonight, but at some point I’ll post about my favourite comedy – most of which are radio shows!

Also. Alles ist in Butter.

Guten Nacht!


Zeitgeist Zwei


Also, hier! Sorry, there. Basically, using that link you can vote for the top 10 science fiction books of all time from a list compiled by “an expert panel”*. I have perused said list and chosen my 10. That is 10 out of the actual 14** (FOURTEEN! It’s worse than I ever thought!) that I have read. I’m not sure I can call myself an SF fan anymore. Quick, to the Library! 

Having written the above, some of my favourite SF books are not even on the list. And some  of the books on the list which I have read, I’m afraid, I didn’t really rate (all 4 of them…!)***.

So, I voted for these:

  • American Gods – Neil Gaiman (Good book.)
  • Brave New World – Aldus Huxley (Seriously, this book screwed with my head. It was amazing.)
  • Going Postal – Terry Pratchett (Lack of choice but wanted to vote for ALL TP. Not my favourite Pratchett.)
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams (Favourite funny SF. Only funny SF?)
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke (I really loved that book.)
  • Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Tolkien (Not sure if I would have voted for these if I had more choice.)
  • Small Gods – Terry Pratchett (Again, not my favourite but he’s a brilliant writer. Also strictly, to me, TP = fantasy.)
  • The Time Machine – H G Wells (My favourite Wells, so happy to put a tick in that box.)
  • War of the Worlds – H G Wells (Again, probably my second favourite Wells.)
  • 1984 – George Orwell (Another book that twisted my thoughts inside out. Awesome.)

Which have you voted for?

Bis bald!


* A bit like the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter only less malleable.

** I didn’t count the books that I will never read because the films have destroyed them for me. There must be 5 or 6.

*** The four books that I have read but didn’t vote for were:

  • Animal Farm – George Orwell (Studied at school and didn’t ever see as SF.)
  • Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman (Purely because I prefered American Gods.)
  • Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman (Bit too much of a kid’s book for me.)
  • The Foundation Trilogy – Issac Asimov (That is the one book – series – I just didn’t rate.)

Zeitgeist Eins

Guten Tag!

There will still be some random posting that serves no purpose other than to give you an insight into my weird life in or not in The Village where I live. I do have a story to write up too. My general idea is to write a story around every element in the Periodic Table. We’ve already had Carbon (C also being the Chemical Symbol for Carbon) and the next will be, well, you’ll see.  I’m not doing them in any kind of order!

I discovered this website the other day: It looks most interesting. I particularly like the Geek Bras.

There’s a wonderful exhibition at the British Museum at the moment called “Out of this World”. It’s all about Science Fiction books. I’ve been about 5 times but sadly don’t think I’ll make it again (I was a bit naughty and got the Doctor Who TARDIS picture you see in Carbon Copy from there.) I urge you to check it out if you’re in the London area. The last time I went I wrote down a list of about 50 books that I want to read which I will list here, I think, in due course. As good a place as any. You never know, I might even get into book reviews.

Here is another photo I shouldn’t have taken at the British Library:

It's a Giant Squid....... ARGH!

Bis Bald!