Friday, November 30, 2007

friday again?

Where did the week go?

I'm off to somewhere in Northamptonshire with lots of lovely people from church for our students and 20s weekend away. I'm looking forward to it.

Life's rather busy at the moment. 2 weeks of term are left, I've got to do some serious essay thinking, which is what I ought to be doing this weekend, if I wasn't going away.

What are YOU doing this weekend?

Friday, November 23, 2007

head in the cluds, nose in a book

Both are true, for once. I'm reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. And I'm loving it. I've got to finish it in time to prepare a presentation for Monday evening, but I don't think that'll be a problem. The finishing it bit, at least.

It's an intriguing book, made up of 6 nested narratives. I'm only 3 in, and beginning to see connections, but I'm sure there's more to come.

I was amused by a reference to someone "breastfeeding a hangover". Now I'm fairly sure that's some lazy editor deciding to do and find and replace with a US English to British English lexicon (i.e. nursing = breastfeeding). But there's an important plot point in the same section that turns on the boot of a VW Beetle not locking properly (mine never did) and it's definitely referred to as "the hood" or "the trunk". Hmm. It's the sort of tricksy novel in which you're never quite sure whether mistakes are deliberate or not. Or perhaps I'm too suspicious minded?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Debs rang me up! Yay! So lovely to hear my sister's voice, all the way from the other side of the world. Well, sort of. She sounds like she's having fun.

I am less tired than I was, though still a bit sleepy. It's been a sunny day, though I spent most of it inside alternating between reading Edward II and seaming a cardigan. Off to watch Derek Jarman's version soon, in preparation for tomorrow's seminar. Should give us lots to talk about.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

fuzzy headed pig

I think I need more sleep. I had a good weekend, but kept fighting off the feeling of being tired and tearful. The former is probably the cause of the latter. I did attempt to get an early night last night, but it didn't really happen. I'm currently considering going home to curl up in bed with a book or three and probably fall asleep.

It's autumn. It's cold and grey and the leaves are all falling off the trees. I like autumn when it's sunny, but on grey days like this, I'd rather curl up and sleep.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

today it's the Debs wot flies

Debs is off to Texas today to stay with Blest. On a big plane, to a big state in a big country.

Bye bye my lovely middle sister! Have a fantastic time and let us know what you're up to.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

pig tales (again)

Amrita asked why 'pig wot flies'?

Here's an old post that sort of explains. It's the pig what flies, misspelt in the manner of Chad. I've been the pig wot flies (and knits) for so long now I forget that it's an odd name.


This post is all about my begging for sympathy, but never mind, it's my blog.

I fell off my bike. :-(. Entirely my own fault. I was going too fast, had to detour round a pedestrian and skidded on some wet leaves. My knee was the first thing that hit the ground. I scraped a hole in my jeans, scuffed my new shoes and my leather gloves (although they did save my hands from scrapes, so that's good.) The bike needs a new front brake cable and the front mud guard wires are even more bent out of shape than they were. A nurse at the uni medical centre cleaned up my knee, which now has an impressive plaster (and a dressing with silver in. I thought that was rather cool) and Mike's Bikes are fixing the bike. I planned to have a productive morning in the library reading The Duchess of Malfi and preparing for my presentation on Thursday, but after sorting myself and the bike out, opted for sitting down with a coffee and the internet until I feel better. The knee seems to be bleeding still, I hope it stops soon.

Can I have an aah?

Monday, November 12, 2007

where does the time go?

I am suddenly very sleepy. It's been a busy weekend, packing, cleaning, unpacking, organising, doing some work in between. Suddenly it's nearly time for today's seminar and I'm not entirely sure where the day went. By some miracle I have read the book (The White Hotel by D. M. Thomas) and at least the minimum set reading. It's a powerful and controversial book, so it should be an interesting seminar. I just wish I was awake enough to appreciate it. What have I done today? Went to the gym, picked up some stuff I left at the old place, drove to Emmaus (a rather long and circuitous route. I wasn't lost, just using creative navigation techniques. Or something), failed to find a useful bookcase, but did buy 2 books (a little counter-productive then), came home and cooked lunch, bought milk and bananas, cycled into uni, checked email and blogs. Suddenly, it's time to move again.

Plan - seminar, then probably Ceroc, then collapsing into bed.

Maybe tomorrow will be more organised.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

pig wot flies' moving day

Today I've been packing and cleaning and preparing to move (not very far, just across town). Debs and my parents came to help, which was brilliant. I hate packing, it makes me feel stressed. I'm not officially moving out until Saturday, but we shifted lots of stuff today. There's some left, but I think I can cope with moving what's left on my own.

I don't like packing, but I do like unpacking and rearranging in new places, so there's that to look forward to this weekend. There's rather less bookshelf space in my new room, but more drawers and cupboards. Should be fun working out where everything's going to go.

Monday, November 05, 2007

disappearing Debs


You may have gathered this by now, but Debs is off to Texas very soon (on the 15th) to stay with Blest and help look after her tribe of boys. Flights have been booked, insurance is being sorted, lists are being made. It's all very exciting.

Debs is going to be away over Christmas, which will very weird for us and I'm guessing for her too. She'll be gone until February next year. Hopefully she'll have a wonderful time, won't miss us too too much and will keep us all informed with blogging and emails and the occasional phonecall.

Go my Debbie sister! I'm very proud of you for being brave enough to go miles and miles away (on a plane! First time on a plane and it's a long haul flight and changing planes and everything) to stay with people you've never met in, in a HUGE and unfamiliar place and not freaking out too much. Big big hugs.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

stars of page and screen

Last week I read and adored Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Yesterday I watched and liked, but didn't love, the film of Stardust. It's easy to moan about how films never get books right and how they left all your favourite bits out and he just doesn't look like that. Films and books are different animals and there's no point expecting what you see on screen to be like the pictures in your head. Rather, I want to muse on the differences between the two Stardusts and the reasons for them.

Inevitably there are compressions of time. The book Tristran takes a year to wander Faerie and get back for the fair, where the film's Tristan has a week in which to bring back Victoria's birthday present. Characters and events are lost and the story becomes simplified to its essential details. We'll leave aside the silly camp pirates and the unnecessary Ricky Gervais cameo (the pirates were OK. There's a wonderful sword fight set to Offenbach's Can Can which is deliciously silly. Ricky Gervais I just don't like.)

One thing I did find interesting was that the film managed to be both less menacing and less innocent than the book. In Gaiman's Faerie, no-one is safe. People die, sometimes bloodily and it's a shock when they do. This creates a real tension and fear for the central characters. The usual fairytale guarantees that the good will end happily and the bad unhappily seem to be in doubt all the way through. The film puts back those conventions and there's no shock or real fear that the wrong person might die. Yet, there's a sort of innocence about the central pair of characters in the book that gets completely lost in the film. From the off, they're confidently exchanging insults and arguing and there's none of Tristran's tender standoffishness that I liked in the book. Inevitably, when they realise their love for one another, they fall into bed in a way which just wouldn't occur to their page-bound counterparts. Not that Gaiman's book is coy about sex, quite the opposite, but most of the earthier bits get cut out completely, which means in one case the death of one of the would-be Lords of Stormhold happens via a sub-Princess Bride scene of poisoned and switched goblets, rather than to the accompaniment of a barmaid's willing seduction.

The film's denouement is of course dramatic and full of explosions and swords and broken glass. The book's clever, but less dramatic end just wouldn't work for Hollywood, which is fair enough. And the good end happily and the bad, unhappily and all is well forever after, as you would expect. Still, on the whole, I think I prefer books to films of books, however good the latter are. There's always the shadow of 'The Book' hanging over a film of a book, which just isn't there with an original film. Unless the book is dreadful, in which case the film can only improve on it. Can you think of any examples where that is the case?