Friday, June 27, 2014

Behold the Randomness....

As the title suggests, this one is going to be a tad on the random side. But most of you are well versed in the the randomness of Rants. Any newbie readers, welcome and enjoy, you get used to it.

In a week where I have been out three nights in a row, - unheard of and freakin' exhausting - I've seen three live bands/musicians, and caught up with an old friend over some vino. There's been a lot going on in the world of Rants.

Don't you hate it when you go to a bar/restaurant, ask for a soft drink  - coke or lemonade - then they pour it out of a multi-pack bottle that you can buy at the supermarket, then they charge you about £1.50 more than they paid for the entire 2 litre bottle? That really gets my goat. £2.50 for a lemonade in barely a half pint glass, in fact I think it was smaller than that. Say what? £5.00 for two soft drinks, I might as well have had half a cider. Robbin' bastards. That was Tuesday night. On Monday night we'd been in Shoreditch and managed to get a lemonade, not poured out of a cheap bottle right in front of me, but out of one of those pressy button snakey things. You know what I mean. Oh, and half a cider for £3.60 and that was in Shoreditch. Baffled!

Anyway, from day light robbery to day light rattery. After leaving my first school on Wednesday, after teaching my morning classes - bearing in mind this was 11.40am - I walked on the opposite side of the road than I usually do as there was a big lorry parked. And running through one of the gardens under a bush was a freakin' massive rat. Ahhhh! Rats are one of those things that I'm technically not scared of, until I see one. Man it was huge and fat. God knows what it's been eating. *shudders just thinking about it* Back to the other side of the road next week.

Something else I noticed on Wednesday was that my tube from Earl's Court to Wimbledon - I get off at East Putney - was way busier than usual, yet both my other tube journeys had been quieter.
*cogs turning, clocks ticking*
Oh yeah, it's Wimbledon. Ha.

Now to vermin of the flying world. The pigeons are back in full force, terrorising the balcony area and in this hot Summery weather, their cooing and scratching and general annoying behaviour is going on right behind my writing desk and I have to have the door open or I actually go up in flames. I spend at least twenty minutes a day running up to the window, yelling 'piss off' and shaking the curtains to get them to fly away. Honestly, it's like they're having little mother's meetings or something. It's the frickin' Pigeon PTA. Find somewhere else you buggers. I'm trying to write.

Now they're becoming sneaky too. They sit on the balcony trying to peck through to A's herbs that he is desperately trying to grow, and when you chase them off, they fly to the adjacent roof top and wait for you to disappear before flying back again. I swear it's the same ones every time. Sneaky little conniving *******
It's almost as if they enjoy the scare. They sit and coo, even earlier every morning - damn sunlight - and keep going until you get up to scare them off. They are essentially daring each other to coo the loudest and then are playing chicken with each other. Who can keep cooing the longest and not be scared when the big bad humans come to yell at them. Pigeon's playing chicken.....whoever would have guessed.

Just as I pause to write the next line, guess who was flapping behind me? They make so much noise just flapping their wings. Such a nuisance. And to think I always used to stick up for them, especially when the kids I look after, chase after them and roar and do anything they can to scare them. Now I'll be routing the kids on, unless you stop disturbing me. #grumpywriterwheninterrupted

Oh and in Kate Bush news, it's less than 2 months till opening night and she's already been in an underwater tank for 3 days, and crew have said her voice is phenomenal. So the giddiness continues.

And in sports news, it's nice to have Wimbledon and the World Cup on at the same time, but sometimes it's just, what to watch angst. Come on Murray and any other Brits that may happen to be left. And as for the footy, well the only Flat 19 team that is left in the competition, rather shockingly, is Greece. (England and Italy out.) So I guess we'll be supporting them as far as they get, then we'll choose a new favourite.

And on writing news, I think I am emotionally stunted and have thus made my characters so. Either that or I chopped half the emotional bumpf out when I was editing. I was probably playing the strong northern woman role and decided that all the mushy sentimental emotional stuff was just padding. Hmmm. Now it seems I need to inject a lot of that back in. Which means another god damn edit. There've been so many. *wah*
But, I will do it, if not for myself, for Ebony. She deserves not to be emotionally stunted, though giving her upbringing, she's completely screwed up anyway. (Ebony is the protagonist of my novel and we've been through a lot together in the 6 years since I conceived her.) In the mean time I am attempting some flash fiction, which is super short, even shorter than a short story, normally around 500 words. Of course my first attempt was 683. But come on, a whole story in that many words, for me that's genius. Just look how long this blog is. I have also been working on my new picture book idea, trying to make this one a rhyming one. Difficult.

So there you go. I think you have been significantly updated with all things Rants. Enjoy your weekend, whatever you may be doing and enjoy the last days of June.


Friday, June 20, 2014

That World Cup Thing, Torture and Geoff.

It feels that a long time since I blogged. In fact it's over a fortnight. I think I had blog blockage. Eek. feeling rather backed up, so it might all come out in a explosion of rants.

Well, it's that World Cup thing, isn't it? You know, the hope, the despair. Wanting to believe we can do it, but knowing in the back of your mind that in actual fact it's unlikely to happen. But there's always a huge amount of pride to see them donning their England shirts, the three lions a-roaring and that expectation that we are small but mighty, and we can do it. Shame we rarely live up to that.

Man, I've missed that whole screaming at the TV thing though. I get so involved in the game. I'm screaming and hissing, and last night I was gunning for the ref. Some really shitty decisions, like that free kick against Gerrard, which if anything should have been a free kick to Gerrard. I was yelling, 'If they score from this I'm gonna hunt him down and dismember him.' I'm glad they didn't, I really wasn't in the mood for dismemberment. And don't get me started on the Uruguay captain who should've been off in the first half, jammy beggar. As my mum would say, the ref was wearing blue and white underpants. ( I hope you all get that.)

Now as for Rooney, I feel that people should stop tearing him apart. If you want someone to play well and reach his expectations, perhaps slagging him off and demoralising him at every turn may not be the best bet. They already have the weight of the nation on their shoulders, and then being a player like Rooney who plays so well in the Premiership but somehow never seems to realise that in the big tournaments for England, he's gonna be pretty darn stressed. I think he deserves some positive press after last night, and I don't just mean the goal. That second half he was in the mix, creating things, moving and almost made it two. Of course it's a shame he couldn't but I felt like his true grappling spirit came through. And let's face it, there are 10 other players on the pitch, so it can't all be his fault.

They are a young team and they do play well, but there was a lot of miscommunication last night. None of the confidence that we saw in the Italy match, which I was shocked at. I know you have to play with a bit of caution and leave the recklessness at home sometimes, but come on. This was also the only way of guaranteeing we were in with a chance of qualifying. Now we have to pray for Italy to win both matches and then we still have to win the last one with a hefty goal margin. Come on. I like to route for the underdog too, but I think this underdog is going under.

I love you England. You frustrate and you excite and you miss lots and lots of goals, but I love you and you make us proud just by getting to these major tournaments. People may not say it, but they think it. So many nations don't even make it to the World Cup finals, they enjoy a few qualifying defeats and are never seen again till the next one. But England bounce back every time and give us something to hope for. COME ON ENGLAND. Let's get a win in the last game, even if we don't qualify. Let's get some quality goals and have fun and show what we're made of. I feel a Stuart Pearce psycho face coming on. AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

And now for something completely different. How psychotic are children? Oh yes, come on parents you know it as well as I do. They practice torturing toys. I don't know how I haven't really noticed this before, but when role playing with the little kid I pick up from school, I realised how he enjoys torturing his toys. Yes it's make believe but at some point, you kinda think....mmmmmm. So we were pretending to be different animals - as you do - and then a dinosaur came along to try and eat us. Now this dinosaur was of course T-rex and is a big sit on toy, that sometimes doubles up as a dragon. But today it was T-rex come to eat us. I wrestled it off us and pushed it away, but that wasn't enough. Little child grabs a fake sword and essentially beats the crap out of the dinosaur. You'd think that would be enough, but no. He then grabs the toy drill and with a laugh starts drilling the poor T-rex. I, at this point sat back on the couch having flash backs to all the torture/horror films I've watched - and there have been a lot.

Sometimes he gets a ribbon stick and pretends it's fire and he sets fire to everything or everyone depending on what we're playing. I find myself just playing along but actually it's quite interesting from a psychology point of view. Just what is going on up there? Anyhoo, I just wanted to share that as I thought it was mildly frightening/hilarious. When he starts pulling teeth, I'm out of there.

So, you know that feeling when you order a dress online - sorry boys I've alienated you - and it doesn't fit because you're too wide? Am so annoyed. I'm mostly a size 10, occasionally size 8 but when a 10 won't zip up around the old rib cage I get a slight anger. I can't really diminish my rib cage and I won't go a size up as the rest of it won't fit properly. Not fair! I'll never be delicate. I know this. I made my peace a long time ago, but seriously, sometimes I wish I wasn't so god damn wide for my size. Stupid broad shoulders and big bones.

Okay, enough girly nonsense, it's a free return and I get a refund, so all is not lost. And besides I started working on a new picture book yesterday, which is very exciting. Lots of creases to iron out, but there is definitely something there and I love my main character: A dragon named Geoff. Oh yes. Geoff. Love it! Oh by the way, there will be no torture scenes in this book, by fire, drill or sword. But there may be the odd hair ball. Intrigued? Me too.

I think I've garbled on long enough.
Come on Italy! Help us out!


Tuesday, June 3, 2014


When it's 2.28am on a Monday in June and there's no bank holiday or celebration to be had, a text message at that time can mean only one thing.......Okay it can mean several things:

Someone is dead or in the hospital.
A friend is drunk and wants to tell you about it.
Or. Google has detected a suspicious log in on your account.

Yes I was just as surprised as you are, but also rather touched. How sweet of them to know it wasn't me.
Of course I was too knackered to get up and sort it out at 2.28am, but then it was on my mind the rest of the night and I had some rather messed up dreams.

Still, the first thing I did when I woke up was to log on and see what was going on. This thick red bar came up at the top of the screen saying: We stopped a log in attempt. Wow! I felt all important.

I checked my email and sure enough I had one from around 2.28am entitled: Suspicious sign in prevented. Go Google.

Hi Helen,

Someone recently used your password to try to sign in to your Google Account.

We prevented the sign-in attempt in case this was a hijacker trying to access your account. Please review the details of the sign-in attempt:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 12:57:16 AM UTC
IP Address: (I have deleted this in case said hacker is really super evil and wants revenge.)
Location: Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

If you do not recognize this sign-in attempt, someone else might be trying to access your account. You should sign in to your account and reset your password immediately. 

I guess it wasn't too difficult to guess that I wasn't in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. But I thank them very much all the same. Nice to know someone's looking out for you while you sleep. 

I changed the password as soon as I got up and quite frankly, in your face stupid hacker person from Japan. Though what they could possibly achieve by hijacking my account I'll never know or understand. 

And so, moving on. I have finally joined the 21st Century - long overdue - with Internet banking. Or as I like to think of it: Lazy banking. Now when I need to check if a payment has gone through, I won't be taking a cheeky little jaunt to Kentish Town, not only exercising, but inevitably nipping into the library and coming out with a raft of books. Instead, I'll be sat in the comfort of my couch, probably with a drink and a biscuit. I can feel my ass expanding already. Ha ha. But in all honesty, it will be good for my sanity and the fact that banks are open shitty hours, especially the tiny branches. And I'm sure I'll still make lots of excuses to jaunt out and visit the library. It really doesn't take much. 

Now to the most bizarre discovery of all: You can actually develop girl genes, even after 30 years of lacking them. Yes, it's true, though on Friday night it wasn't apparent, when I was attempting to put my hair up as a practise for the wedding on the Saturday. Nothing went right. I'd been out to buy hair products, as of course I previously didn't own any. I came back with a heat protection spray, a light hold hairspray and a super this-hair-ain't-going-anywhere hairspray. But they do not make a hairstyle. Girl genes and hand dexterity do. I have little to none of either. 

Using good old Google searches and YouTube videos, I failed my way through various 'simple' updos that were supposed to take minutes and I couldn't even perform the first step. At one point I actually broke down and said, 'I don't have any girl genes. I can't do anything. I have no girl genes.' I mean, I wasn't broken down enough to be crying about it. I was simply stating a fact with a feeling of loss - though really I can't feel loss for something I never had - and eventually laughter. You should always be able to laugh at yourself, even in the most dire circumstances. A even offered to help, bless him. But at this stage it was all out war with myself. If I couldn't do it, fine. But I couldn't have anyone helping me. If I had to fail, I had to fail by myself. 

I realised that the YouTube videos were slightly better than just the photo step-by-step guides, because you see the movements and realise which was to twist and stuff. So I started trawling through a few. I attempted one but my hair was too thin and it just didn't have anywhere near the same effect. Then I stumbled upon a real gem.  Thank you to Cinthia Truong for enabling me to grow a couple of girl genes. But please don't all start doing this style, as it's the only one I can do. 

It's so much easier when you're a bridesmaid and you have someone doing your hair and make-up for you. Man it was all DIY at this wedding and I somehow managed to pull it off. 

So I now own hair products, have the ability to do one updo, and have applied my own foundation. This really was an increase in girl genes. I think I now have five: these three along with shoes and handbags. I love shoes and handbags. 

Thanks for reading you lovely people. 
Enjoy the manky weather.