Monday, 24 September 2007

A rare moment...

of schmaltz from me.

I am, as much as it is possible to be, a member of the Jim Henson generation. I was born in the time period that "Sesame Street" was in pre-production, and was a young toddler when it first aired. Some of my favourite early memories revolve around Sesame Street sketches - particularly the somewhat psychedelic "D/Doll" sequence, and Bob McGrath was my very first crush (he was superseded by Harry the Monster and Kermit, then Brendan Pelarski in the first grade).

When I outgrew "Sesame Street", there was "The Muppet Show" at 7.30 pm on Saturday nights, with its array of stars, and the ongoing sagas of "Pigs in Space", "Veterinarian's Hospital" ('the continuuuuuuing story of a quack who's gone to the dogs') and "Muppet Labs" (poor Beaker!).

And just as I grew into them came the richer, magnificent and somewhat darker "Jim Henson Hour" ("The Storyteller" half was some of the best television I have EVER seen), "Labyrinth" and "The Dark Crystal".

I grew up with Jim Henson. He was always there. Until...

I'll never forget my brother ringing me in 1990 to tell me that Jim Henson had died. I told him at least twice that he was kidding and wouldn't believe him. In the end, as we all know, I had no choice. None of us did.

For years, I've been looking for this clip from the show with Bernadette Peters - it made me cry then, though I only understood why when I was much older. The second half is the same song done as a tribute to Jim Henson - watch it the whole way through, even though you have to listen to the song twice.

You might even find yourself shedding a tear.

It has been almost 18 years, Jim, and we miss you still. Thank you for letting me - and so many others - grow up in your world.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

My daemon, pt. 2

I nearly had a heart attack today when I saw my daemon appear as a spider. Then it clicked...there are 12 days before it settles into final form. SO, before it does, please take the test and be *honest* about how you see me. Can't wait to see what it turns into next week.


Friday, 21 September 2007

My daemon...

as per Philip Pullman's definition - if I lived in Lyra's world, this would be the representation of my soul. Agree? Disagree? Comment and let me know:

Another quiz says that my daemon is a goose. I was offended until I was reminded that one of my favourite characters had a goose daemon: Serafina Pekkala, the witch queen. As per Wikipedia:

Serafina Pekkala's dæmon is Kaisa, a large grey goose who is capable of being separated from Pekkala by long distances, as is normal with the dæmons of witches... Witches own nothing, and so have no means of exchange save mutual aid.

There are men within the witch society who serve the witches, or who can be taken for lovers or husbands. Witches are said to be capable of appreciating men for their
beauty, intelligence, and bravery (we do indeed); but due to the witches' long life-span, the men appear to grow old and die almost at once. This is said to cause the witches great emotional pain.


Witches fly on branches of Cloud-Pine, and equate flying to living, as Serafina states: "A witch would no sooner give up flying than give up breathing. To fly is to be perfectly ourselves." Witches see themselves as subject to fate, yet they feel they must act as if they are not, or "die of despair". THAT sounds like me. Wait for me, Serafina, I just remembered where I put my broom...

Friday, 14 September 2007

Only 493 days, 13 hours and 28 minutes

From the Times - and before any conservative American readers (of which I hope I have exactly ZERO) shoot off, the Times is considered a conservative paper over here, so no "But Europe hates Bush" bull****:

"The 21 nations that make up the Asia- Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum account for half the world’s trade. They have, however, long suspected that the biggest member, the United States, did not take it seriously.

President Bush did nothing to dispel that impression yesterday when he forgot the name of the event, referred to his Australian hosts as “Austrians”, and engaged in a public spat with the President of South Korea. To make matters worse, the security measures of the Sydney police were breached by a team of comedians, including a man dressed as Osama bin Laden.

Mr Bush flew to Australia via Iraq, and during his keynote speech to businessmen in Sydney he behaved like a man in the throes of jet lag. Many will sympathise with his mispronunciation of the South-East Asian militant organisation Jemaah Islamiyah, and his struggle with the name of the Burmese democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. It was forgivable when he walked the wrong way off the stage and had to be guided by John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister.

But when he referred gratefully to Mr Howard’s forces in Iraq as “Austrian troops”, he had perhaps used up his credit. The worst mistake was made in the third sentence of his speech. “Thank you for being such a fine host for the Opec summit,” he said, confusing the 12-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries with the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum. “Apec summit,” he said quickly in correction. “He [Mr Howard] invited me to Opec next year.” But that wasn’t true either."

Thank GOD I haven't had to live under this idiot, who should have choked on a pretzel years ago - at least his father is an intelligent and gracious man, even if I disagree with him. How he and Barbara could have spawned this creature is beyond me.

But let's leave that aside. I have a question for my countrymen. You watched him for FOUR years. You knew how lacking in intelligence and analytical ability he was, how lacking in integrity (the joke of the decade being that the man who executed more prisoners than anyone else had the NERVE to institute a "Sanctity for Life" day - go join the hypocrite pro-lifers who bomb abortion clinics and shoot doctors in hell, won't you?) he is, how corrupt his cronies are, how this man will lie to do what he wants rather than what is best for the country, how incapable he is of listening to anyone.


Ah, yes...if we break it down by IQ, it all makes sense:

1 Connecticut 113 John Kerry
2 Massachusetts 111 John Kerry
3 New Jersey 111 John Kerry
4 New York 109 John Kerry
5 Rhode Island 107 John Kerry
6 Hawaii 106 John Kerry
7 Maryland 105 John Kerry
8 New Hampshire 105 John Kerry
9 Illinois 104 John Kerry
10 Delaware 103 John Kerry
11 Minnesota 102 John Kerry
12 Vermont 102 John Kerry
13 Washington 102 John Kerry
14 California 101 John Kerry
15 Pennsylvania 101 John Kerry
16 Maine 100 John Kerry
17 Virginia 100 George Bush
18 Wisconsin 100 John Kerry
19 Colorado 99 George Bush
20 Iowa 99 George Bush
21 Michigan 99 John Kerry
22 Nevada 99 George Bush
23 Ohio 99 George Bush
24 Oregon 99 John Kerry
25 Alaska 98 George Bush
26 Florida 98 George Bush
27 Missouri 98 George Bush
28 Kansas 96 George Bush
29 Nebraska 95 George Bush
30 Arizona 94 George Bush
31 Indiana 94 George Bush
32 Tennessee 94 George Bush
33 North Carolina 93 George Bush
34 West Virginia 93 George Bush
35 Arkansas 92 George Bush
36 Georgia 92 George Bush
37 Kentucky 92 George Bush
38 New Mexico 92 George Bush
39 North Dakota 92 George Bush
40 Texas 92 George Bush
41 Alabama 90 George Bush
42 Louisiana 90 George Bush
43 Montana 90 George Bush
44 Oklahoma 90 George Bush
45 South Dakota 90 George Bush
46 South Carolina 89 George Bush
47 Wyoming 89 George Bush
48 Idaho 87 George Bush
49 Utah 87 George Bush
50 Mississippi 85 George Bush

Jesus wept. And then wanted to come down and kick your apathetic, unthinking asses - after he'd gotten over the fact that he'd wasted his time dying for you.

That's better. I've wanted to say that since 2004. At least you made a start by giving us a Democratically controlled Congress last year.

But for God's sake, people, quit giving the rest of the world reason to see you as an imperialistic, self-absorbed, materialistic nation, who thinks that it owns the entire world and thinks it can do whatever the hell it wants. You don't and you can't. If you have power and resources, you have RESPONSIBILITIES, not just rights.

Stop acting like an adolescent and grow up. Care for your own - money isn't all there is, and socialism isn't necessarily a bad thing. Learn from others. Learn ABOUT others. LISTEN. CARE for others - you're proud of your resources, use them to make the world a better place, not an angrier one. Realise that you're only a thread in the tapestry of this world, not the whole damn thing. Deal with your anger and pain, and become more compassionate. Make those of us who were born of you and are living elsewhere proud - make us want to own you rather than deny you.

Hilary and Barack...we're counting on you. And if you win, don't forget Al Gore.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007


Oops, it has been more than three weeks...sorry, folks.

Well, the news is that the funding at my last job ran out, which I'm gutted about, because I love my friars.

Since then, I've picked up a job writing educational resources - which is great, but my first assignment is 35 little booklets that - no matter how hard I try - I can't do in an hour each. The deal is that it should take 20 minutes for the mental map (almost there) and 40 minutes for the questions, answers and surfing the web for extra material and further reading. I am SO not there - that's taking well over an hour for me.

Part of it is that I don't know the subject. Part of it is that I'm new at messing around with mind maps.

But most of it is that I am incapable of dashing off anything except notes and things that I don't give a toss about. I'm a TEACHER. These are resources for teachers. They MATTER and I cannot give them less than 100%. The deadline was yesterday, and I'm nowhere near done - I've been at my computer for about 12-14 hours a day since Saturday: by Monday I'd done a full week's hours.

I've finally admitted that I can't do it in time. Even if I were quick, that's 35 hours of work. And I had to start over on Friday because my old computer died. What made me say 'yes' when I knew bloody well the answer was 'no' unless I had supernatural speed bestowed on me from the Charmed Ones' Book of Shadows?

As I'm now blogging, I think you can all guess that I can't do the 12 hour days anymore. I've hit the wall.

I've been listening to 'Au fond du temple saint' and Azam Ali (The cold black key from 'Pan's Labyrinth').

When this lot is done and a couple more things are sorted out, I'm going to Disneyworld.

Well, maybe Wales. But definitely the sea.

And back to a 40 hour week, even if I am working from home...