June 29, 2016

The art and science of Rose Counting

Everything reminds me of Rose. There’s the usual things, the things you would expect to be reminders – her art, her makeup, her toothbrush. But there are so many other things that bring a memory of her to mind… I drive to work and at the tricky junction where a fast stream of traffic joins, I remember how I would worry about her coping with that junction when she came in the car to pick me up from work.

And then there’s rain. Rose loved to listen to the rain on the glass roof. As a Brit, I find that rain is something to be tolerated and a useful topic of discussion in awkward moments with strangers. For Rose, it was a reminder of the sound of the rain on the roof in her childhood home.

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May 24, 2015

Busy doing nothing: The Revenge Of The To Do List

I still have my To Do list. Just in case you were thinking “Look how the year is moving on! Mr Allen will no doubt have removed all of the items from his To Do list by now. What an inspiration that chap is! And so good-looking too!” Alas, my To Do list is still with me. But, on the positive side, my rugged good looks do seem to improve with each passing day.

I’d now like you to all get in groups of three and discuss how I can be motivated to do all the things I don’t want to do. And also, how I can be motivated to do all the things I do want to do. What’s that? You can’t be bothered. Okay, let’s have a chocolate chip cookie and a drink instead.

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May 3, 2015

The may-hem and the bed-lam caused by the hyphen

I have, you will no doubt recall, had need to question the pronunciation of the letter “W”. Not with regards to accuracy but with regards to length. You may recall my crazed, unreasonable and frenzied rant… er, I mean, my well argued and reasonable request that we get rid of the letter “W”. Or at least pronounce the letter “W” in a different way so that it doesn’t take up so much time – a perfectly reasonable idea, I am sure you will agree. And not the ravings of a madman. Really. Continue reading

March 15, 2015

Hang on, I’ve lost the plot: The Stargate SG-1 Syndrome

In my televisual and filmic viewing, I have high standards. I don’t believe in watching any old thing just because it’s on the telly. I am a discerning and intelligent viewer. As such, there are certain criteria which I use to scientifically determine whether I should give up my precious time and view any visual work of art. After many years, I have managed to hone down my requirements, to crystallise the very essence of what makes a TV programme or a film worth watching. There are, for me, basically two requirements for any creative representation to have credibility and inherent value. Media without these two elements will not hold my attention for very long. Those two essentials are: aliens and explosions.

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March 8, 2015

I’d like to take a holiday away from my brain

Brains are wonderful things. Even though some people survive quite happily without them. They are so useful. Not just for the difficult things like doing exams and getting software to work and figuring out the plot to Memento and putting together flat pack furniture. Brains are there to help you enjoy chocolate and to appreciate art and to remember not to repeat yourself and to enjoy chocolate.

I have a brain and I’m not afraid to use it. Sometimes twice a day. There may be a Doctor of Brains reading this so let me make it plain that I think a brain is a rather good thing. Being a Doctor of Brains, she will be quite positive about the usefulness of a brain and (quite rightly) distraught that someone might think there might, just might, be a down side to the whole having-a-brain thing. Let me be clear. Brain good. No brain not so good. I just wish… I just wish I could turn it down a bit.

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February 15, 2015

Movies4Men. And movies to make you riot.

There is a TV channel called Movies4Men. Those who are fleet of brain and nimble of cleverness will instantly recognise that it is a TV channel of movies… which are for men. These movies are not for boys. Nor are they for those of a female disposition. Likewise dogs, hamsters and fish are discouraged from viewing this channel. I have instructed my wife not to view this channel, it is for men only. Occasionally I may come home to find that said channel is in fact on our TV. She assures me that this is, of course, an error. Or sometimes, she has kindly turned on the channel ready for me for when I return home. It is good to know that my wife knows who is the Boss in our house.

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January 24, 2015

The letter “W” and why it must go

The worldwide web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in the early 90s. (No, you haven’t accidentally wandered into a History lesson – all will become clear as I progress. Actually “clear” may be a little too high as an objective. I will progress but clarity is never guaranteed.) Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal for a WorldWideWeb (please note – all one word!) became reality and search engines appeared. Said search engines referenced websites with addresses beginning with “www”, short for world wide web. This looked fine on screen but what happens when you say it out loud? That’s “double u double u double u“. A total of NINE syllables. I get tired by the second “W”. Three of them is just too much. “Worldwide” (in my dictionary) is one word so the abbreviation for “Worldwide web” should really be “ww”. That would have been a 33.33% reduction in verbal effort. Or if he’d kept to WorldWideWeb as one word that would have been just “w”. But it was not to be. So “www” it wwwas.

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January 18, 2015

The Spam Police!

I remember the first time I won the lottery. I was quite surprised. Not least because I hadn’t entered the lottery. Later that same week I won another one. And then another. At one point I kept a count of how much I had won but once it got into the hundreds of millions, I was rich enough not to bother.

And then came the bequests. I had been selected to receive a very large sum of money because someone had “found my email address on the web” and was sure I was a worthy recipient. They hadn’t been in touch with the lottery people or they would have known I was already a millionaire and didn’t need any more money.

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January 10, 2015

New Year Resolutions

I am not one for New Year resolutions. I know my limitations, as they say. Already a victim of the “To-Do-list-which-just-gets-longer” syndrome, I don’t want to be making myself another list of things which I am unlikely to complete. So I will simply lower my standards… Perhaps the trouble with New Year resolutions is that they are too high and mighty (for me, at least). There’s nothing like a bit of lowering of the sights to bring about some true inspiration. Hmmm. Perhaps my resolutions should go like this…

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December 7, 2014

The moviness of English and the stayiness of maths. Alright? All right!

The problem with English is it’s always moving. “English and Maths” are often lumped together as a pair but they are an odd couple. English likes to move with the times, she’s hip and groovy, she’s down with the kids. Right on. Maths is still wearing that brown corduroy jacket with elbow patches.

When I was at school, “alright” was not alright. Mr Wright – which is a great name for a teacher and has an almost Dickensian fitness for purpose here – was my English teacher. He told me that “alright” was not acceptable. It has just occurred to me that if his first name had been Alan then Al Wright would be telling me that “alright” is not all right. Indeed.

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