Angelic Paranoia

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Watching telly

I am terrible at watching telly. I tape a lot, think I’ll get round to it, but somehow the evening’s gone and I haven’t got to the telly-watching bit. And then a few months ago I started a sleep CBT and one of the things I had to do was to relax for an hour and a half before I go to bed. And I wasn’t allowed to read. So I made an effort to get through all the TV I had taped.

Technically speaking I’m not quite there. I have an episode of Cats Countdown, three-quarters of an episode of Hypothetical and a half an episode of The Last Leg on there. But now most of the telly has stopped for Easter (and, really, until September) it won’t take me long to get through those (and two of them are from last week).

I want to say I don’t know what to watch, but I have some stuff on catch up I’m working through, I want to re-watch Yes, (Prime) Minister because I’m not 100% certain I’ve seen it all. And a lot of The Bill on DVD. I won’t run out.

Although at some point I need to get Disney+ because I haven’t seen the last two Star Wars films yet. But that’s only free for a week so I have to time that carefully for when I’m sure I have enough time in that week to watch both films. (Although if I wait long enough they’ll be on TV eventually)

Stargazing

I had done some stargazing years ago, inspired by Stargazing Live. Last year I finally managed to catch the ISS going over, but generally standing outside in the freezing cold in January learning constellations wasn’t as appealing. But then I was inspired by the recent Jupiter an Saturn lining up. I went out to look and could only see one bright dot (Jupiter), but through the binoculars I could see another, less bright dot (Saturn), right beside it.

I got an Amazon gift voucher from work for Christmas and decided to spend it on some decent binoculars for stargazing. The ones I have are cheap and light and good for looking details/people in the player/royal box at tennis matches, but that’s about it. That’s what I bought them for, so it’s not unreasonable.

After loads of research I bought a pair… and then it was cloudy. Every night. Well, I got to the point where I stopped checking and was surprised a couple of times on my way out shopping – and of course it was cloudy when I got back. But late last week we finally got a clear night, and the temperature was above freezing. So I went out and looked at the moon through the binoculars and it was pretty exciting. Handily, the moon was up in the day a couple of times, so I got to see it looking less bright (relative to the rest of the sky).

I assumed at the time that the planets and ISS were the only other things you could see through binculars. The only planet that was up was Mars and it was behind the moon. The other night it had moved away and I discovered that through binoculars that little red dot became… a brighter red dot.

I then wondered if I could see any nebulae, discovered some were in Orion and pointed my binoculars at it… and discovered there were suddenly so many stars in the sky. I have no idea if I saw a nebula or not, I was too distracted! I can’t go somewhere away from lights on my own (especially holding a pair of binoculars, that’s just asking for them to be stolen) so I’ve always been happy with whatever stars I can see.

Afterwards I looked up what you can see through binoculars and it’s not any details of Mars, it’s just too small. But I bookmarked a website that I can check through next time it’s a clear night (it’s looking good for later this week!). I am really keen to see the ISS through binoculars, but it’s hard finding a night when it goes over at a reasonable time, high enough above the horizon and it’s a clear night. But it also moves pretty fast, so going to be hard to follow with binoculars.

For anyone interested in Stargazing I recommend the SkyView Lite app. You can hold it up and it’ll identify what’s in front of it. And you can ask it to find specific objects and it’ll direct you to them.

Merry photos

Merry being up in the morning is quite handy for photograph taking with a bit of light. These are from a couple of weeks ago when he ran around the lounge while I worked and didn’t go to bed until nearly 10am!

Merry by the skirting board

Merry by the shelf

Merry by the door

What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
The Secret Political Adviser by Michael Spicer. I get why he’s branched out and this was funny, but not as funny as his videos. It just has a different feel to it: in the book he’s horrible to the politicians, and is really just as bas as they are, but in his videos it’s more like he’s put upon and you feel sorry for him.

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. This was cheap and sounded interesting – and I read the preview and couldn’t stop so I had to buy it to read it. It was really interesting. Cait was basically a shopaholic, so decided to stop and go cold turkey – and also do a lot of de-cluttering. And during that year she learnt a lot about herself and why she shopped. It inspired me to do some more decluttering – I thought I’d finished, but it turns out there’s always more you can get rid of!

What I’m Currently Reading
My Word is My Bond by Roger Moore. This is his autobiography. I do like reading about other people’s lives and this is particularly interesting because he was born in 1927 and the world was a lot different to how it is now.

What I’m Reading Next
After reading The Year of Less I am thinking that I should really not buy any more books until I’ve read the unread/partially read ones on my ebook reader and taking up space on a bookshelf. Not least because the latter will then free up some room, assuming I don’t end up keeping them all. So next I’ll read one of those – I don’t know which, it depends on what I feel like reading.

What I am reading Wednesday

I went on an ebook buying spree, because it is just too easy to do. Even though I already have some physical and ebooks to read.

What I Just Finished Reading
The Autobiography of Kathryn Janeway by Una McCormack. I got this because I’d enjoyed the Kirk and Picard autobiographies and Una McCormack’s writing. And it was alright, but the basic problem was that I just don’t care about Janeway. And at no point during this book did I care. I had been thinking about giving Voyager another chance, but after reading the bits of the book set during that time, and having been reminded of how terrible it was, I am definitely not.

What I’m Currently Reading
The Secret Political Adviser by Michael Spicer. You’ll have heard of Michael Spicer – he’s the bloke who does videos with political figures like he’s talking into an earpiece they’re wearing. This book is along the same lines, but with a shadowy organisation that’s advising politicians. It’s quite amusing, but a different feel from his videos.

What I’m Reading Next
I will probably look at what else on my Kobo I’ve bought and not read and pick one of those.

The Persuaders!

This is all [ljuser]liadtbunny[/ljuser]’s fault. A small mention in a post sort of comparing it to The Avengers and the next thing I know I’ve watched all the episodes (at one a day – there’s only 24) and have bought the DVD.

It did seem like The Avengers at the beginning with the Judge in a wheelchair giving them a mission. But he gets up out of the wheelchair and isn’t in that many episodes (which is a shame, I’d have loved to have seen more of him being all manipulative). But it’s more ridiculous than The Avengers (this is not a complaint). Wikipedia describes it as action comedy, which explains why one of the fight scenes is basically slapstick. In the same way The Avengers aren’t avenging anyone, The Persuaders aren’t really doing any persuading.

It’s all about two rich men, played by Roger Moore (pre-Bond) and Tony Curtis. After being brought together by the Judge they investigate criminals and megalomaniacs, sometimes by assignment, often by accident. Also they become best friends who always have a go at each other. And there are fist fights and car chases. The plotters generally make everything far too complicated, so it’s not a surprise they get caught. It’s good to watch when you don’t have too much of a brain and a good idea not to try and think it all through logically.

And this is the early 1970s, so all the car scenes have a background that is clearly not there. And sometimes clearly not right. And on one occasion managed to make the car almost disappear. It’s endearingly old-school.

There’s an episode with fencing in it, albeit sabre. But they were (more or less) properly fencing (followed later on by a combination of fencing and fist fighting). I felt a bit sorry for Tony Curtis after it because he was so sweaty afterwards – he had been properly kitted up and wearing a thick jumper. He must have been roasting.

Also guest stars all sorts of people who were around in that era. I was excited to spot Inspector Wexford. Richard Vernon made me reach for IMDB because I couldn’t place him. I was thinking Yes, Minister, but when I scrolled through his filmography I managed to completely miss his entry for Yes, Prime Minister and Yes, Minister, and spot right below the Yes, Minister entry, that he was Slartibartfast in Hitchhiker’s. It was days later when I realised he was Sir Desmond.

So, I enjoyed it. It was fun.

Steps to clean out hamster wee

  1. Change water
  2. Shake sand bath/hamster bathroom and pick out lumps
  3. Open food box
  4. When hamster appears at door of his house, offer him some food. When he sniffs it, but turns his nose up at it offer him the piece of veg you’ve been saving for him from dinner and is right by his cage so he can smell it
  5. Open lid of house and watch as hamster takes veg to his ensuite and sits there to eat it
  6. Wait for hamster to move
  7. Pick up handfuls of substrate, put it to your nose and sniff it to see if it smells of wee
  8. Regret it
  9. Remember that you made a mental note last time not to sniff so hard or put it so close to nose
  10. Make mental note not to do that next time
  11. Fill nappy sack with smelly/wet substrate
  12. Wash hands
  13. Return to find hamster sitting in space where en suite was
  14. Throw fresh substrate on hamster
  15. Watch hamster go to bed
  16. Go to put lid on
  17. Find hamster has got out of bed and is sitting on edge of house walls
  18. Offer hamster food
  19. Hamster takes food
  20. Hamster wants more food
  21. Give hamster an entire day’s worth of food
  22. Watch hamster add food to pantry/en suite
  23. Put house lid back on
  24. Put everything away and wash hands again
  25. Return to find hamster has investigated the food that magically appeared in his bowl and is now disappearing down the top entrance of his house, giving you a good view of his balls

Merry in his house

What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
The Chalet School and Guernsey by Katherine Bruce. When I started this book I had been assuming it would involve them leaving Guernsey, established that maybe it wasn’t and was a bit disappointed. Then we had a few chapters of just ordinary school stuff and I decided that actually that was what I wanted in the book. So then it immediately turned into them deciding to leave Guernsey now, actually, which I was reading at the same time as the government were bringing in stricter measures in some parts of the country, and it then I really wanted to be reading just a school story. I finished it anyway, since there were only a couple of chapters to go, but it was a bit of an odd book, feeling like neither one thing nor the other.

What I’m Currently Reading
How Was It For You? by Virginia Nicholson. This is about women in the 1960s. It goes by year and themes and I’m currently on 1964. There are just so many things starting that we recognise as modern – it’s such a different decade from the 1950s. It’s been particularly interesting having read Shopgirls, so I can relate it to the changes in shopping and consumerism that happen around that time. I thought I was mostly interested in the 20s-50s, but there’s loads here that I’d like to know more about. Handily there are some footnotes suggesting books that go into more detail about some of these things – one of which I already own!

What I’m Reading Next
Funny You Should Ask by QI Elves. This is explanations of ordinary things you don’t (necessarily) think to ask, inspired by the questions asked at the Why Workshop on Zoe Ball’s breakfast program. I’ve enjoyed the Why Workshop and the elves have been publicising this a lot with extracts, so I know I’ll like it and find it interesting.

Live comedy in 2020

I like to go and see live comedy. I had quite a bit in the diary for this year, which quickly got cancelled from March. Although then I saw more than I thought, as they included live screenings. Here’s all the ones I ‘went to’ that required a ticket:

Ardal O’Hanlan
Infinite Monkey Cage
Jack Dee
Mark Watson
Mock the Week
The News Quiz
No Such Thing as a Fish
Sandi Toksvig

Technically I went to No Such Thing as a Fish twice, but one of them clashed with something else, so I watched it later. But I still paid for it.

Last year I went to 12 things, so two-thirds of that isn’t bad. I liked being able to go over Zoom because then it doesn’t matter where they are in relation to where I am.

I currently have three in the diary for next year, all of which have moved date at least once. And one for 2022.

What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
The Secret by Lorna Hill. I was very excited when GGBP re-published this. It’s 14th in the Sadlers Wells series, of which I own the first twelve. The last two are pretty much impossible to find and when you do find them they’re about £100. So I was excited to read this one. It’s pretty much the same as the others, which is not a surprise, but I enjoyed it. There’s an afterword where Lorna Hill’s daughter Vicki talks about what they discussed would be in the next book, to resolve this one. Which sounds like it would have been a good book.

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenburg. I thought from the blurb on the back that this was a sci-fi murder mystery and I was sort of right. It starts off in the present with Anna being tried for murder and then goes back to the past, from Anna’s point of view, leading up to the trial – with some of it interspersed with the past narrative. What’s really interesting is that she’s a hybrid – looks human but is robot, ish – and lives as a Disney Princess in Disneyland (just without the word Disney). I really enjoyed it and went looking for more by the same author, but she’s a new author and has only written one other book and that’s a YA romance. I will be keeping a look out for more by her in the future.

What I’m Currently Reading
The Chalet School in Guernsey by Katherine Bruce. This arrived and work’s been crazy busy, so it’s just the right amount of don’t need a brain to read now. I have only just started it, but it’s standard Chalet School stuff. I’m just waiting for the Chalet School to need to move off Guernsey. Which I assume will happen in this book – right near the start they’re talking about whether France will fall.

What I’m Reading Next
How Was it For You? by Virginia Nicholson. My Chanukah present about women in the 1960s. I am looking forward to it, despite it being a big, thick book.