Friday, 5 April 2013

wait, did i miss something?

Did I miss summer this year?

We seem to have skipped straight from winter into autumn... again.  I'm really getting bored of this, tbh.

I've never been a fan of hot summers as, being a fat person, I get overheated very quickly and tend to just sweat constantly.  However, spring and autumn are usually good - temperatures sufficient that you might only need a jumper or a light coat when you're out, but occasionally nice enough for a t-shirt.

I mean, I like winter as a season, overall, but you have to have the other seasons in order to appreciate it.  It's the contrast thing, otherwise, when it's cold all the time it just becomes grinding and miserable.

Not to mention the heating bills - about this time of year I should only be putting my heating on when you get the odd chilly evening or morning, but I'm actually having it a lot and it's costing me a fortune.

What's particularly dispiriting is that, bar a few meagre blips, there doesn't appear to be much prospect of the thermometer rising in the next few weeks and possibly even beyond that into next month.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

well that's a shitter

I wasn't going to post today.

I didn't pre-write any posts over the Easter weekend and I have to confess I'm struggling a bit with motivation (in a general sense, as well as in terms of writing a blog post), plus I'm way behind on reviewing rental DVDs so I couldn't just slap one of those up either.

However, browsing the BBC site I've just encountered some rather crappy news - Ian Banks has final stage cancer and is not expected to live for more than a year or so.  Here it is on the BBC - ; and on the Guardian website -

I'm a big fan of Banks - his Culture novels are some of the best SF I've ever read, and I enjoy his mainstream stuff too - so this is particularly crappy.  He'd actually just started writing new Culture novels having not done any in a while, but it seems that the most recent (Hydrogen Sonata) will be the last.  A great shame.

I don't think I've ever blogged about it here, but my mother died from Cancer.  This was some time ago, but when hers was diagnosed it was "late stage" as well.  Cancer is a complicated (and odd) disease, but late stage is basically where the original cancer has spread to the degree that it's uncurable - and I mean that in a definitive sense.

My mum's original cancer was breast cancer, but by the time it was diagnosed it had spread to a quite catastrophic degree - it was in her bones, lymph nodes and liver.  It was actually the liver that delivered the final blow as it was essentially total liver failure that she died of.

Interestingly with my mum it was actually several years between the point she was diagnosed and the point she finally passed away and you get to late stage by having it for a long time without detection.  She didn't have chemo (there's little point when it's like that - it may add a few months but you feel awful for ages, so it's just not worth it), but I seem to recall she had a bit of radio-therapy, though nothing major.  I think they just wanted to knock a bit of it out to help extend life a bit and so she was in less discomfort.  She also had some other experimental treatment, though I don't recall what this was - whether it helped or not I have no idea.

One thing about this period that was different to what you'd expect was that she wasn't really in pain as such - she was fully active until the very last week and without being told you wouldn't even have known.  That's part of the problem with this sort of cancer - like Banks it's something that is discovered by a symptom that isn't directly related.

So my mum had breast cancer, but there was no big lump in her breast (it was a load of tiny cancers and she wasn't quite old enough to be having regular screening anyway) and it was actually a fractured bone in her spine that was the point of discovery.  She'd been riding with my sister while on holiday and been thrown off.  It wasn't a big fall particularly, but because the cancer had weakened the bone it fracture so she was in a lot of pain and went home on the train (I recall this day vividly) to see our GP.  That triggered a battery of tests to try to ascertain why the bone was so weak, eventually leading to the discovery of cancer.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


I always really struggle when the clocks change.

I have quite fixed routines and am very much a creature of habit.  I mean, I can do things as I need to - get up really early on stay up really late, it's just that I can't do these regularly and consistently without paying the consequences.  Heck, nowadays I pay some sort of consequence even if I just do these things once or twice.

Anyway, the point is that the change of going an hour forwards is pretty disruptive for me and I'll likely be really tired all week.

Easter was okay.

I'd obviously put together a to do list, though remarkably for me it was relatively light.  I'd therefore basically achieved everything on the list by Sunday morning, and that was without trying.

Actually, it turned out I'd made a bit of a cock-up and should actually have cleaned the flat over Easter (Grand Prix season is now in full swing and has gone for lots of double-headers again, so it buggers about with my usual pattern of cleaning very fortnight).  However, this cock up was actually that I shouldn't have cleaned wen the Malaysian Grand Prix was on and did, so it didn't matter.

Anyway, point was that Monday I did nothing except watch TV and a few Blu Rays.  I needed to catch up a bit with TV as my PVR was filling up quite badly so this isn't as decadent as it sounds.  It's now at about 50% full, down from about 80% full (I deleted a few bits as well since it turned out they were a bit rubbish).

One of the things I got quite far with was the George Orwell season that Radio 4 did a little while ago.  I'd recorded all of it and listened to about half of the programs (not half of the stuff - I mostly focused on the stuff they put out in small chunks).  It was quite interesting, though clearly of its era, so it had historical interest as well as political interest.