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November 2004
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January 2005


How to cope with Nora having a really bad nightmare.

She couldn't stop crying, was in complete hysterics. Wouldn't be put down. Couldn't just sit quietly on our bed with us. Tried the TV, which we thought becasuse she never watches it, would stun her enough to get her out of it - but no, not even Bagpuss could help.

Enter the world of the Boobahs website. That psychedelic amazing baby friendly nonsense was the only thing that calmed her down for about twenty minutes. Then she began to cry out of tiredness - it was very different and not as heartwrenching.

It is interesting though that the TV which is a fundamentally push mechanism did not calm her down, but the interactive thing did. She having never watched TV but been randomly aware of the internet (we play with the Boobahs site about once every couple of weeks for about twenty minutes) and the computer (oh she loves the keyboard, the wee minx), seems to think the TV is extremely boring.

Anyway - interesting in itself but absolutely horrible for nora. It was grim. God only knows what she had dreamt. Maybe we left her and didn't pick her up, or something - maybe she bashed her head. What on earth do babies have nightmares about?

I know what I have nightmares about when it comes to babies, but I woudn't wish to divulge the content since they tend toward the terrifying.

Eczema and the reduction of milko

I dropped another milk feed and she now gets a bottle every day in the afternoon instead of getting it from me at weekends and some nice human milk for her breakfast cereal during the week.

An unexpected effect of which was that the bubblies on the side of her face - the proto eczema has come back with a vengeance. I don't know why but I hadn't thougth of that and now I'm all stressed about giving up feeding altogethr. But I can't carry on feeding her really - well, we can't carry on with two feeds. Opinion seems to be mixed as to whether if I went down to 1 milk would still be there after a few days or not. Well. We'll soon see.

One upside to her having a bottle at night would be that I would actually be able to go out. This will be an amazing revelation after a year of no social life at all. I'm not quite sure how I'll cope.

Two UK govt oriented items

Before returning to normal baby-lovin' service.

Firstly, yesterday, it was reported on the deletion of Govt email over 3 months old (that's a follow up piece). It's a frightening and appalling action which fundamentally rocks accountability and therefore the democratic process.

I would urge anyone in the UK reading this to get in touch with your MP immediately and suggest they ask questions in the house. Unfortunately my MP is Keith Hill who is a dyed in the wool Blairite so I doubt he'll do anything and will send me a waffly letter but you might do better.

I must put Mackay's correspondence with Keith Hill on the WMD question & legality of the war up here at some point. It's so good (ie: bad) that Mackay wants to follow round Keith Hill with a megaphone and leaflets at the general election declaring him as a warmonger.

Now. Point the second is to have a look at which is a *ridiculous* but brilliant site which is certain friends of mine's way of shouting and jumping up and down and saying "What in hells name are you people doing". has launched as a search engine able to review all .gov sites. Apparently. This is the "Directionless gov" press release:

"So, we've built DirectionlessGov. Our tests show that DirectionlessGov
is much more effective at most common searches than DirectGov.

Whilst full cost data is not available for the first year of
operation, the publicly funded DirectGov has been built from a group
with an operating budget of £4.4m and a team of 39.

At the time of writing, total development time for DirectionlessGov is
approaching 26 minutes, and is reported to be on schedule.


Pointless post about comics

After a year of unwanted comics abstinence* (the "Into the Void" chain, which had a Streatham branch, closed down, and yeah, like I can take the time out to get up to Gosh on a weekend...) my Christmas gift to myself came last night from Fantagraphics. $122 spent on comics, with a fantastic exchange rate. Wonderful.

Included in the package was of course the last Eightball. The useless infrequency of Dan Clowes' incredibly good comic makes me grind my teeth. How dare he be making money writing Hollywood scripts! How dare he be wasting his talents on mere words!

So the last Eightball is the story of a fundamentally unimaginative and only irritatingly screwed up man with superhero skills. Dan Clowes is a brilliant story teller. In the past, I had a Woody Allen-esque reaction to Eightball, in as much as I preferred the earlier, funnier and more autobiographical (and insecure) comics - Lloyd Llewellyn, etc but as he has deliberately given himself "stretching the form" type tasks and sometimes fallen flat (I really didn't think Dave Boring was particularly interesting, for example) he has developed a more mature and deliberately difficult style which has really come in to focus in the last two Eightballs. I think his experimental speech bubbles "offscreen" as it were, or obscured to give the impression of half heard conversation and so on are a great innovation. Maybe he uses them a leeeetle bit too much in "The Death Ray" tho. Dunno.

Anyway. There's something in his work that reminds me a little of reading the more depressing Doug Coupland novels - whereas Coupland has become more optimistic as he's got older, Clowes seems to almost revel in peoples' shortcomings. He's not alone in focusing in on not-actually-very-idiosyncratic loners and deadbeats - what with Chris Ware & Seth too, plus countless others,you're looking at a kind of negatively hollowed out existential eye view of fundamentally miserable (and obviously male) Americana. What's up with you guys - you should get out more.

The point in this entire post is to exclaim that it's so satisfying to be settled down with an art/literature form that I enjoy so much after such a long time, with a glass of red wine. There's a big pile of Love and Rockets by my bed. Bliss.

*Ah, not quite true actually as I've just remembered I read the first Peanuts collection a few months back. I apologise, I'm being pedantic to myself (smack).

This year's Christmas stocking filler

I can't be bothered to look it up but I think it was Gore Vidal who said that every time a friend brings out a book, another part of you dies. Well, frankly I have never heard anything more ludicrous, she lies desperately. Well. No, I am a big celebrator of mates actually bothering to get it together to be in print, since it is only done by managing to get the balls together to jump over the insurmountable hurdle of the new, crisp and clean white word processor page.

This year, we have two selections for you:

Mind Hacks, co-written by all round good guy and slightly too clever Matt Webb and in a completely different realm, "The Return of Bunny Suicides" by Andy Riley, whose wife Polly is currently on the verge of giving birth. Andy is one of my oldest friends, and was recently "Bride's mate" at my wedding. He wears extraordinary suits.

Buy both! Expand your mind then watch bunnies shoot themselves in the head!

You know it makes sense.


The occasional foray in to making this an actual blog this time tags "Google Complete".

Which is surely the way all search engines will look in less than 6 months. It's such a no brainer. That's what I like about good ideas. They tend to be the ones that make a part of your brain say "Of course!" and slap itself on its forehead wondering why no one ever did it before.

And the inevitable but very amusing Slashdot conversation on it will be and is better than any other online discussion so far.

Nora still has exzema

We tried... well, to be fair, we ran out of aqueous cream! So I went back to massaging her with grape seed oil (no extras) and bang. Little bumpies all over her forehead and round her eyebrow within 2 days.

This is the curse of preventative medicine. How do you know unless you stop? as Stephen has found out to his cost inthe past when he stopped taking his epilepsy drugs for a while. Not that I am in any way comparing the two in severity terms.

Nora's birthday:
-A donkey that goes "Heehaw! HeeHaw!"
-A big teddy (snugglicious, apparently)
-A smaller Beefeater teddy
-Wooden pegs and a hammer (fantastic. Elliot beware)
-A counting book with sticky bananas in that are really sticky
A Pooh balloon that only has one arm and leg. What's up with that?

I have entirely failed to purchase her trike, as yet. I must do that, I feel bad about it. If we are to take it down to Bradford at Xmas we must do it!

Happy birthday

I've been wondering for weeks what I might write today, and have come characteristically unprepared. A bullet list of everything that has happened? Dates of when all the teeth ripped through those tender gums?

It's the laughter that buckles you, every time. She laughs at the silliest, most ludicrous things. We play tents when I'm feeding her and take my top off. I hold it over both of our heads and we hide inside, laughing with each other like idiots. She holds out bits of her supper for me to eat, and she cries out in short, dreamtime wimpers at night.

I got her a soft beanbag donkey for her birthday, that "heehaws"s when you press its tummy. It is the funniest thing ever.

I don't know where I'd be without her. In a far more tedious, grey place than where I am now.

My darling love. We have done the best we could do in the last year and I think that it was pretty good, as it goes. There are things we have not done with you - you haven't been swimming yet. But you joined a library, you have a friend at the nursery, you can nearly stand up on your own on the big bed, and you can blow a mean rasberry on my arm (leaving a trail of goo behind). You still eat with vague interest only and throw most of your fingerfood on the floor so we are still worried about that but I have faith in you, if only because you don't see many 5 year olds with their parents trailing behind with bowls of food and a spoon held hopefully out.

You love your books - particularly if they involve cats or crocodiles and you are *still* scared of the Whoozit spiral.

And this time last year, you were one vulnerable, scared little person, with an elongated head and an inability to feed. So you're doing ok, really. Aintcha.

Year Two. Bring It On.

12 months ago

Right now... hmm. Ok, I'd been in full on 5 minutes apart labour since 11pm the night bfore. Right now we are watching Edward Scissorhands (pausing every 5 minutes). The Midwife may or may not have visited and told me that I'm dilated 1 more centimeter than I was at 2am.

It's Nora's birthday tomorrow and it is astounding to me that I started labour effectively at 6pm yesterday.


I will definitely go on strike if that ever happens again. Not fair. No thanks. Definitely not the done thing.

Remembering going through all that is a salutary lesson to me at the moment re: the importance of different events and/or happenings in one's life. I'm going through some nasty things atm. Won't go in to them on here though.