Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Back in the day

I spent quite a large chunk of last weekend in the company of my 8 year old self. Don't worry, I haven't invented some sort of time machine, created a time paradox by meeting myself, "the results of which could start a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space time continuum, and destroy the entire universe!" Take a bow, Dr Emmett Brown. Nothing so exciting I'm afraid. I've been watching home videos.

I've just got a fancy new bit of technology that enables to me to copy from VHS to DVD, so I've been doing that very thing with the home vids that my Dad made back in the mid-90s. It's been an odd experience. Mostly very fun - I was pretty amusing as a kid - but also quite poignant at times. Grandparents that are no longer here in reality are there on tape and the experience of seeing them there is quite different to that of looking at a still photo. It's a vivid reminder of their personalities and quirks.

It's bizarre to see myself up on the screen as a healthy child! Such a vast chunk of my life has been defined by the M.E. that is strange to remember that back then it wasn't.

I'm also unusually extroverted! Most people remember me as a shy child who wouldn't say boo to a goose. (I've never really understood that saying - a goose could be quite frightening if it wanted to. Surely it should be 'boo to a sparrow' or something along those lines?) Evidently when I was around familiar company and situations, I had no qualms about showing off or being overly loud.

I was also struck by the number of school concerts, plays, gym displays etc that we've got on tape. These days I expect that parents aren't allowed to film such things because they contain other people's kids. It's an understandable safety precaution but it is still sad that these records won't be around for the children of today to show their children.

Friday, 25 January 2008

And the Oscar goes to...

It's time for me to gaze into my metaphorical crystal ball again. I may be a few days behind the rest of the world (the nominations were announced on Tuesday) but I let me assure you that I have put much thought into these predictions. I definitely didn't decide to do this on a whim, find the list of nominees and have a bit of a guess... ahem. So without further ado: Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the winners of the 2008 Academy Awards!

Best Picture: No Country For Old Men

Best Director(s): Joel and Ethan Cohen - No Country For Old Men

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard - La Vie En Rose

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem - No Country For Old Men

Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There

Best Original Screenplay: Juno

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

These things I say with the complete certainty of someone who has not seen a single one of the films mentioned. Shameful but true.

Feel free to comment with your own ker-razy predictions!

P.S. I fell down the stairs today. More on that story later.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Heath Ledger

I surprised myself tonight, by the extent to which I was saddened upon hearing of the death of Heath Ledger. On the one hand such sadness is completely understandable. He was only 28 years old, at the beginning of in all likelihood a long and successful career, and leaves behind a 2 year old daughter. It is utterly tragic.

But I don’t know him. I’ve never met the guy and have no idea of his true character or personality. I’ve merely watched a few of his films. Yet despite this fact, I was genuinely shocked and distressed at the news. The easiest way of explaining it would probably be to attribute it to today’s culture of celebrity. There are certainly some actors and actresses who make it their business to be in the papers every day, shamelessly promoting their latest piece of sub-standard entertainment and giving the public an intimate (if often false) portrait of their lives. But to my mind Ledger wasn’t one of those. He kept himself to himself, made good films (for the most part) and got on with his life.

I think that eventually it must come down to his work on the screen. Despite of (or perhaps because of) their lightweight nature, 10 Things I Hate About You and A Knight’s Tale are two of my favourite films. In both of them Ledger is charismatic and appealing, bringing an easy style of acting to his roles with very little fuss or bother. He puts in consistently good performances even when the films don’t quite match the standard of his acting; see Ned Kelly or The Brothers Grimm. No doubt he’ll be remembered largely for his Oscar nominated performance in Brokeback Mountain, although I have a feeling that his role as The Joker in the upcoming Batman film may prove more iconic.

No doubt it will be used over and over again in the coming days, but tragic really is the only word to describe it.

Monday, 21 January 2008

A Selby, a station and a sofa.

Just call me Mystic Meg!

I'm actually quite disproportionately proud at my successful snooker prediction! I think that perhaps I shall quit whilst I'm ahead and from here on in make no more sports-related forecasts. Yeah right. Like that's going to last for long!

Disregarding the warm glow I'm emitting having triumphed in this small matter, I actually feel rather like I've been hit by a bus this morning. All self-inflicted I assure you, well in the sense that I knew I'd end up feeling like this. Not that I actually took on the persona of my M.E. and beat myself over the head with it. It's as a result of my little London sojourn at the weekend. I knew that rather too much walking than was desired would take place, but I didn't count on my sister and I getting lost inside St. Pancras station and having to retrace our steps before we had got our bearings. So before we'd even left the station I'd walked too far! Eventually my walking turned into that sort of trudging pattern, where all that was keeping me going was momentum. I had to keep moving because if I stopped then it would probably take me hours to get started again!

Anyhow, I survived the day but I'm paying for it now. Surprise, surprise. Here's looking forward to a week of sofa-dwelling and ice-skating viewing!

Friday, 18 January 2008

Snooker loopy

#Pot the reds then, screw back
For the yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black
Snooker loopy, nuts are we
We're all snooker loopy#

A bit of Chas 'n' Dave for you there, to brighten up your Friday morning. I have a strange relationship with snooker. Not quite love/hate but something akin to it. It all depends on my health at the time of a televised tournament. If I'm well then it drives me err... loopy! It's too slow and I get all fidgety whilst watching it. I'd be a disaster if I went to see it played live. I expect I'd develop a desperate urge to talk to someone during the game and I'd probably get asked to remove myself from the premises.

Snooker comes into its own when I'm ill; when I'm lolling on the sofa in a particularly pathetic state. Snooker soothes me; the slow but deliberate movement of the player and cue; the sound of ball against ball; muted applause; the dulcet tones of John Virgo - all far more relaxing than any pan-pipes CD or yoga video.

I mention this now because you may have noticed that snooker has once again taken over BBC2 this week. It's The Masters tournament in Wembley. It's been a bit of a good'un so far especially in terms of shock results. 3 of the big names fell before the quarter-final stage: John Higgins, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that Mark Selby will win the title. He's come back to win his last two matches 6-5. He just doesn't know when to lie down and die!

Monday, 14 January 2008

Gah x3

Today I was on the receiving end of a frankly horrific accidental text incident. My sister's text message to her boyfriend ended up winging its way to me. I almost vomited. The less said the better. I am attempting to wipe the memory from my mind, a la Ben Affleck in Paycheck.

The trip to the hospital last week actually turned out OK. I did see the man himself and he discharged me - woop, woop! He was disarmingly friendly. So much so that when he brought out his classic "the only cure for M.E. is exercise" chestnut I didn't have enough time for it to register or for me to react. Curses. Oh well at least I won't have to see him again! Honestly man, stick to your chosen field.

I'm having to take a step back this week and take some rest days. I've done rather a lot over the past 10 days or so and my body has started shouting at me. I'm supposed to be going to London on Saturday. Gah. Always a rather stressful undertaking. Shouldn't have to stray to far from St Pancras though thankfully. I can't deal with cities. I've often wondered how I would have coped with this illness had I lived in a city. I can't bear the thought of the noise and millions of people all squashed together. I like my suburbs just fine thanks. I've got the vital entertainment venues within reach (ie. shops and cinema) and lots of nice countryside too. That is until all those new houses go up... I'm going to have to emigrate aren't I? One problem - I have a feeling that no country is likely to want me. Bah. Degrees, schmegrees!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Doctor, doctor...

Oh joy. A visit to the consultant awaits me today. Sadly not an M.E. consultant (no such thing exists in my area of the postcode lottery) but a thyroid doctor. I've had thyroid issues of one form or another for the past 6 years. It's pretty much stabilised now but I'm summoned to a check-up once a year. The problem is that this guy is rather deficient in the understanding of M.E. department. The last time I saw him he suggested I join a gym! If it was mere ignorance of the condition then I could give him some leeway. Unfortunately, he appears to have had some sort of experience with the illness which has led him to believe that he knows the cure! Goodness knows what kind of crackpot hospital he got this 'experience' at but quite frankly he should stick to his thyroid clinic. I can deal with people (even in the medical profession) being ignorant of my condition, providing that they are willing to listen to me and take on board what I have to say - I have been living with this illness for 10 years now, I think I probably know quite a bit more about it than the average doc. But what gets me so very annoyed (the polite way of putting it) is ignorance compounded by arrogance; the belief that they have the answers when in reality they don't even know the questions!

Mind you I'm probably making a fuss over nothing. In all likelihood I won't even get to see the head honcho. Mostly I get palmed off onto his registrars, the majority of which look blankly at me when I try to explain that I have M.E. I don't think they can cope with more than one illness at a time, poor little dears.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Technologically speaking...

I've spent the better part of this evening on my hands and knees in our lounge, making friends with dust and dead spiders. Why I hear you ask? All for the greater televisual viewing of the Giraffe-a-licious house.

We have a shiny new TV! This is highly unusual for us. We normally hang on to our old and out-dated technology until it simply doesn't work anymore. Very economical and all that, but rather boring. Anyway, now we have moved into the 21st Century and have a rather beautiful 32" Sony Bravia LCD. To make said beautiful TV watchable however, required rather a lot of cable switching, furniture moving and generally exhausting activity. The truth of it is that I'm the tech-savvy one of the family when it comes to this stuff. My sister's better with computers and the like; but TVs, VCRs, DVDs, Digiboxes etc are my domain. The worrying thing is that I get a strange satisfaction from the whole process. It's probably part of my whole list addiction thing but it soothes me to get things in order; to unplug and replug cables, knowing that my actions will bring me eventual joy! The problem is that such activities tend to be a little on the energy zapping side.

Stand up... sit down... careful not to damage the new glass TV stand... get a torch to see where this cable goes... oh no wrong place... bend down again to change it... Thankfully I was ably aided by the parental carbon units without whose furniture moving skills I would have been all at sea. The most shocking part about the whole thing was that my Dad was actually able to keep quiet during the process! Usually it's a case of "you don't want to do it like that...". Yes Dad, actually I do. Anyway, this time round he was a star. He must be mellowing in his old age.

Now please do excuse me whilst I go and curl up in a ball somewhere and sleep this technology hangover off.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

2008....come on down!

Happy New Year to one and all! Adios 2007. Hola 2008!

With a whole new 365 days of fun stretching out in front of us until Jonathan Ross gets to change his film show title again, I feel moved to make some predictions for the forthcoming year. Come with me as I gaze into the future and witness events yet to occur.

I tell you the truth, when I say that in 2008...
  • Leona Lewis will conquer the American charts.
  • Andy Murray will compete in at least one Grand Slam semi-final.
  • Britain's Olympic gold medals will come from sailing, cycling and equestrianism (that's fancy talk for horse stuff don't cha know).
  • The Liberal Democrats will elect another new leader.
  • Dave will become the top-rated non-Beeb, non-Sky, digital TV channel.
  • Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will be the biggest film of the year.
  • Both David Tennant and Jonny Wilkinson will become single, fall in love with your favourite blogger (that's me, right?) and fight some sort of contest (the format of which has yet to be decided) in order to win her affections.

Well I don't know about you, but I'm excited!