Monday, October 30, 2006

Studio 60 update

The gossip is not good.

Countdown to Wednesday

This year I am taking part in NaNoWriMo, which is an American contest in which the participants each attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in a month. Everyone who writes a 50,000-word novel in November wins. It's a nice contest. For those of you who think that 50,000 words is short for a novel, you're right. But if you think that there are no 50,000-word novels, you're wrong. According to the good people at NaNoWriMo, both Of Mice and Men and Brave New World are 50,000 words long.

I will not be writing anything like either of those books.

I will be writing a novel concerning a couple who live in Leitrim who are SPIES! and also B-LIST MOVIE ACTORS! I don't know anything about SPIES! so their spying activities are going to be more at the Charlie's Angels end of the spying spectrum than the George Smiley end of the spectrum.

I do know quite a lot about B-MOVIE ACTORS! so the story will probably concentrate more on that aspect of their lives.

People have asked me why I am doing this. Will I get published? Represented? Seen by an agent? No. I will not get any of those things. I will get the fun of writing a novel in 30 days, just so I can say I did it. Also, the site accepts donations. Naturally, there are costs to running a contest like this, so half of any donations that people make go to running the contest and the site, and half goes to building libraries for children in Vietnam. So if you feel you want to help me in my endeavours and offer some support, you could make a donation. You don't have to, though. Comments and emails of encouragement will work quite well to shame me into getting the thing finished.

If you are also doing NaNoWriMo, you can look for me in the participant section. I'm Accentmonkey.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The hairdresser

Until yesterday, I never really understood my relationship with my hairdresser. I knocked off work early to go and do some shopping, and arrived into Brown Thomas (a shop I hate) to buy some Aveda stuff (a manufacturer I love). They were having some kind of hair advice promotion, which I ignored, partly because I don't need hair advice ("what lovely hair!" is usually the advice I get), and partly because it was Friday evening, my layer of protection from the outside elements was proving to be an indoor liability of almost menopausal proportions, and my hair had not been washed in five days, not cut in almost six months, and was tied back with a 15 cent hair elastic which could snap at any moment if touched.

It was only natural, therefore, when I should be looking my very best, that the immaculately cool, well-dressed, fragrant, and very sweet man doing the hair advice promotion should turn out to be my old hairdresser from Whetstone, the lovely Paul. I haven't seen Paul in about two years, and when I saw him, I fell that tiny bit in love with him all over again.

We chatted for a bit, Paul and I and the women who work in the Aveda section in BTs (who are very nice ladies, by the way), one of whom used to also be a customer of Paul's.

"Who does your hair now?" he asked me.
"No-one", I said, miserably and truthfully. "I haven't had a decent haircut in Dublin since you left."
The other girl said the same thing.
"You should go back to Joy, you know," Paul said. "She's really excellent."
"Suppose so."

What could I say? I did go to Joy, once, after Paul was gone. And I'm sure she's lovely. But the fact is, and I don't know why I didn't say this to him, that I just like having a gay man cut my hair. Because for an hour every three months or so, I can feel fabulous. Like a film star. Like how a man would feel if you gave him a good suit and sent him to a casino and told him he was James Bond for an hour. and when you're me, and the only magazine cover you're likely to ever grace is Blimey, She's Let Herself Go A Bit monthly, or You Don't Think You're Embracing This Country Living and Telecommuting A Bit Too Enthusiastically quarterly, then you like to have someone fuss over you and make you just feel amazing and glamorous just every now and then. And, you know, a gay male hairdresser is just better at that than a heterosexual female hairdresser.

Don't get me wrong, apart from the, you know, *blows out cheeks to indicate largeness*, I'm perfectly happy with the way I look. But just, you know, sometimes, a little bit, well, you know.

Anyway, Paul is apparently planning to leave hairdressing behind him for ever. Which I think is the most appalling loss to hairdressing. If I had loads of money, I would hire him to fly to Dublin to cut my hair three times a year. I didn't realise how much I missed him until I saw him.

Ooh, or maybe I would fly Gabriel over.

I am such a tart.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I did read a book at the weekend, though, when my brain was too sore for hard facts about the past. I read this Sarah Waters book. Affinity is sort of Waters-lite. It's Victorian, it's lesbian, it's eerie and gothic and moody and melancholy and full of thieves and the seedy underbelly of things, but it's a quicker read than Fingersmith or Tipping the Velvet, and less substantial. Still v. good and ripping fun though.

Also, according to Amazon, you can SEARCH INSIDE! it, which has to be the most useless thing they've introduced (apart from all those kitchen scales). I don't need to search inside it. As long as it's got print in it, then it's a book, and that's kind of what I was expecting. Er, the print's quite big. There. Now you know.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

No books

So, why have I not posted anything in two weeks? Why have I not read any books? Because I am currently slogging my way through The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham, which is HUGE, and I am limbering up for NaNoWriMo in one week from tomorrow, and I am sick.

And, it is the winter, when the stars come out for walking in the morning, and for Strictly Come Dancing in the evening.

More of both of those things later. Now, tea and Lemsip and telly.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Firefly and Serenity

Did you see Firefly when it was orginally broadcast? I sure didn't, and I'm not the only one. Cancelled after just 14 episodes, it was going to be Joss Whedon's next big move. Only no-one watched it. And I can kind of see why. It's not an easy sell, for one thing. A science fiction western! Yes, we know that many science fiction films are basically westerns, and that Star Trek was famously described as being Wagon Train to the stars (I don't know what Wagon Train is, but I'm guessing manifest destiny appears in there somewhere), but this one really plays up the connection. Oh, and it's not teenagers, it's adults. Yes, that's right, it's nothing like Buffy. I suspect it may also have been tainted a little by the rubbish that was Enterprise.

Oh, but it's great. It's funny, and exciting, and has cute sayings, and great acting and the ship is just a superb design (Mister Monkey made me say that. Although I agree that it has a nice table in it) and it's fun and rollicksome and they've done a lot of work to make it look good. The 14 episodes just fly by.

I didn't think the film was much cop though. As a film designed to wrap up a telly series for the people who had watched the telly series, it spent too much time on recap, and if you had never seen the series, you would wonder what purpose some of the characters serve, exactly, because there's very little for them to do.

I love it so. Shiny.

Only 19 more to go!

Hey, remember this? In fact I was wrong about how many there were to go. Because I am good at my job, and because the place I work is populated with nice, reasonable people, I have been told that I can go home for good on November 20th.

So, taking into account Bank Holidays and actual holidays, there are only 19 more 6am starts to go. This is good news, because it's starting to get dark and cold, and I can see Orion in the mornings now.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

According to NBC, with this programme Aaron Sorkin is doing for television "what he did for the White House", which is what, exactly? Give everyone the impression that everyone there is funnier than they actually are? Make viewers feel they know more about it? Those things might be--and for most of The West Wing's run, were--fine and admirable when you're talking about the U.S. government, and by extension, the country, but they're not so important when it's a telly programme. Of course that wouldn't matter if Aaron Sorkin knew the difference, but there's not a lot of evidence in here that he does.

We're three episodes into Studio 60 now, and here's what I think:
  • Telly isn't as important as government. I know you're shocked to hear me say that. Believe me, I'm shocked to be saying it. Maybe I should clarify by saying that this television programme isn't as important as government. Maybe some are.
  • Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford are an excellent double act.
  • Amanda Peet should wear either a hair elastic or a hair band, but not both at the same time.
  • I don't care about anyone on this programme who isn't Matthew Perry or Bradley Whitford, and I only care about them because of who they used to be. For god's sake, The West Wing made me care about Rob Lowe inside three episodes. Rob Lowe! I didn't even think he was still alive when the series started.
I hope it gets better. I've a feeling it won't, but I hope it does. Even as it is it's not terrible or anything. It's still a lot better than most other things on telly. Just not as good as I wish it was.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Blue-footed ones, naturally.

I am such a nerd for anything to do with the Galapagos Islands. The BBC has a new documentary about it which looks absolutely beautiful and features some of the most gorgeous footage of boobies and sea lions and tortoises and albatrosses, but sadly has a script that's almost as dull as the one for Planet Earth. Too much imagery, too little information, portentously narrated by Tilda Swinton and with music that makes you think Elijah Wood is going to drop a ring into the middle of the caldera on Fernandina.

Part of me would love to go there. But part of me thinks it would be wrong to fulfil such a fantasy. I would never want to come home, for a start. And it does seem a bit stupid to pour so much carbon dioxide into the air to get to somewhere where everyone's so concerned with conservation.

I had no idea there were 28,000 people living on Galapagos. Those crazy Ecuadorians and their wanting to make a living.


I am not a pill-taker. I know this might shock some of you, and some of you might say you know for a fact that that is not true. But I am not, by nature, one of life's pill poppers. First, I forget to take them. Forget the regimented having to take it at the same time every single day or you get PREGNANT, I can't even manage the every day part. Second, I don't seem to be able to get them in my mouth. The pills I have to take at the moment are tiny. Tiny! Sadly they are so tiny that they get stuck to the palm of my hand when I try to throw them back into my mouth, and so they fall on the floor instead. Or they drop off the end of my stubby fingers and fall onto the floor. Or they knock against one of my teeth and fly out of my mouth and end up on the floor. Even getting them into my mouth is no guarantee of swallowing them. Sometimes I choke on them and have to hawk them back up again. It's all very poor.
Anyway, I'm taking them to regulate my thyroid function and my blood pressure, one of which is way too low and helping to make me tired and fat and (and this was really the thing that made me want to do something about it) affecting my brain function and moods, and one is too high, which might give me a stroke.
And everyone focuses on the stroke part. You don't want to have a stroke, my mother and my doctor and my husband tell me, over and over again (as though, perhaps, I have already had one and cannot be trusted to do things for myself). So instead, I have these things: dizziness, nausea, bone-deep cold, and headaches. From the thyroid tablets I get these things: sleeplessness, temperature fluctuations. So I'm always roasting or freezing, I periodically throw up for no reason and then feel crap all day, and I get these dizzy spells a couple of times a day that make me unable to function properly and just sit there and watch the world spin around for twenty minutes or so because I know that if I stand up I'll fall down, and then I'll break my hip or something (apparently, since blood pressure was targeted as one of the things medics get worked up about, there has been a huge increase in the number of people admitted to hospitals with fall-related injuries).
It's annoying, particularly since the drugs are actually working in other ways, and I have more energy and so am reading more and would like to go out and see people more, but I just can't be arsed, because I feel like shit.
And before you ask, the doctor has looked through her Big Doctor Book of Drogs, and these are the side effects of all of the possible medications.
God, if I was proper sick, I'd be unbearable.