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October 2007
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December 2007

Mending the Mac

Thank you Claire!

When I was a young stripling, I was brought up on Macs. They used Mac classics at university to edit and pull together the various newspapers and magazines I wrote for. I helped to set up my friend's Mac when he bought the groovy new "Power Mac" in 5?

But I never, ever knew what the hell all the electronics were. Frankly, they frighten me a bit, in the way that I am a tool user, rather than a tool creator, or mender. Mackay, about a week ago, told me that the Mac had just entirely stopped. It wouldn't boot up, and the button refused to work. So I asked around to see if anyone could recommend a repair shop because surely the button must be fucked. Then Claire sent me a URL which claimed to calmly explain how and why macs can suddenly, and for no apparent reason, not start up.

So it was with some trepidation that I opened up the beloved G4 so bloody easily the other day, spied the spent battery, then ended up phoning Clare and saying "Where the hell is this button, then?". But then I found it. And I pressed it. It went "Click". I waited a few moments, then pressed the on button.

It worked! Amazingly cool and simple! Now of course I had an 'on' Mac, still opened up, looking all interesting, and I was reminded that someone told me that fitting a new hard disk in to a Mac is as simple as basically plonking it in. Given our pack of space due to the demands of video, and the fact that (sob) my entire iTunes collection is currently on CD's because we don't have room for it on the computer, I theeeeeink may be I should get me a new, big, fat, stupid-gigs hard disk.

Question, oh Mac users. If you install a hard disk on one Mac, can it then be transferred to a different Mac if the first one is, say, a really old G4 which probably won't last that many more years?

I have extracted a promise from Claire that in return for a nice night out (and the fact that i haven't actually seen her in the flesh for what seems like several years) she'll give this old bugger a once over. With a bit more speed, a newer version of OSX and more space so it doesn't creak to a halt when it run out of space then I really don't see any reason why it shouldn't just keep on keeping on.

Except perhaps we should buy a new keyboard.

Thank you once again, my lovely!

My absolutely mostest favouritest piece of Bach

Or quite possibly, favourite piece of music of all time, frankly. A simple, but beautiful piece:

Oboe concerto in D minor: Presto.

Makes me swoon wih perky, springtime delights.

My other knockdown favourite at the moment, and I'm not sure if I mentioned it ages ago - it still hasn't changed: the last movement in Beethoven 5. It's so good. Wrong word. GOOOOOD. Big, bold, celebratory, wild, extraordinary, powerful and joyous.

Do you have any classical recommendations? I'm up to my ears in bloody Ben Folds (bless him) and a limited selection of Brandenburg Concertos and Beeethoven 7 & 5, with a bit of Sheherezade thrown in. Not having a big fat centralised music server is a bummer. Not having all my CD's which are in storage is a fucking nightmare.

It's difficult to tell what my taste is, given that with classical, I think you'd be stupid not to admit that it's a constant learning curve, unless you do it for a living, in which case it's even more of a learning curve! I love Grieg's piano concertos - they're sparkly and fun, like hearing expound talk wittily. I love appalchian Spring by Copeland and now I love it more, because Nora adores it. It reminds me of my childhood, and now it'll remind her of hers. I really, really love when Prokoviev suddenly changes key in the middle of something - like modernism slyly elbowing its way in to a lovely classic Russian sound.

It is interesting that these people are all men. The world of orchestral sound, expressed in enormous detail through a masculine pen. If one listened overwhelmingly exclusively to work written by women (and in modern music too) what difference would it make to one's musical outlook?

Do I actually care... well, y'know. Not much, to tell you the truth. just listen to the bloody stuff and get involved. I make up songs for the kids all the time - does that count?


That was a bit strong, weren't it.

Meanwhile. Here are some resolutions, which are not in fact related to the below in any way. I've been gradually changing my habit of late, to do with eating and drinking, given that the great majority of diet issues are through habitualisation, rather than need.  And it's habitualisation of sorts which hads led to (in classic management stylee):

  • A muffin every day at work (low fat! Ha ha - reminds me of Rich's 'Pizza and Diet Coke' gag of old)
  • Half a bottle of wine every night. More or less
  • Getting the tube every day instead of cycling
  • Eating a LOT of 70%+ dark chocolate. this doesn't qualify as every day, but at least 3 days out of 4

The results are almost constant weight gain and almost no decrease in back pain since stopping breastfeeding (and getting my joints back to normal). As a result of those two things (alongside having had a topsy turvy year of wonderfulness with children, and abominably awful in other things) my self esteem is at Lower Ground level right now. You know, I say that, but as usual, I have good days and bad days, as with most things.

So, a week or so ago I did something which could be considered really odd, which was to eat all the home made ice cream I had left in the freezer. I couldn't finish the tub, and threw the rest down the sink. I did it for 2 reasons: a sugar craving and also my desire to have it out of the house. I wanted to feel grossed out. A bit peculiar. On Wednesday, when I was picking the children up, I bought  a small carboard box with 3 luxury dark chocolates in from Sainsburys. I had to shove them in quickly before picking up the kids because  Nora would inevitably want some. One of the carers saw me and she laughed about having done the same thing and ha ha ha. All the time in the back of my head I was replaying what this must have looked like, thinking "Jesus, Cait, that's frankly disgusting!".

So. I really don't want to do anything like that again, despite the fact that, actually, you know - 3 chocolates? I'm not exactly in self-loathing territory about it.

I am not going to not have an afternoon snack, at work - that's stupid. But, I  have bought myself some fruit instead. If I can keep doing that, and keep, and keep and keeeep doing it, then it will become habitual. Buying a muffin as an alternative will start to seem strange.

I have also deliberately not drunk wine more than twice since last week despite it being open, and the idea is to go back to "not on weeknights". I hope I can, because I had the feeling I was becoming borderline dependent.

MY GOD how boring this must be. Next! 

I feel the need

To fill you in, my given audience. Not that anything has happened of late of any consequence, but nevertheless, as a committed blogger, with a fee paying audience (you pay the fee of having to put up with my griping), I should dedicate another twenty minutes of my zonked with tiredness late evening to your pleasure.

I always end up writing these things last thing at night, usually after having had a glass or two of red. Which explains why I a) type so incredibly badly, and secondly, miss this point in its entirety, and forget to use the Typepad spellchecker. A combo of knackeredness and drunkenness leads to dreadful public wiffling.

James has got another cold - the last one had morphed in to a mild case of "deep winter chest" and had refused to leave. Now we're back at the beginning of another one. But all this time, he's been religiously having his infant echinacea and Sambucol, and I know it's made a difference. No chest infections so far, and the heavy cold symptoms seem to go, superfast. Nora, who has also been having echinacea but less intensively, has not caught this cold yet, and didn't catch the last one.

Words continue to emerge. As well as "cup" this evening, we had "hug", which was in reference to a slightly nauseating Jez Alborough book with the same name. Proto words are sprouting like mustard and cress. Buh-bow is still ball; baloo-ballooooo(n) is a balloon (Hey! You guessed it!); sschoooo  - shoe;  bapbap - bye bye... and so on and so forth. It's all bloody happening around these parts, linguistics wise.

Meanwhile Nora's Great-Granny Beau is slipping slowly from this mortal coil. Shelagh (my Dad's fantastic wife, fact fans) is trying to be as open, and involving as possible. We're making sure Nora goes over as much as we can do. I hope Shelagh, you don't mind me taking about this. Beau's reached the stage where I can see similarities physically between her and my Dad, when he was dying. It seems so obvious now, in retrospect, but at the time, we felt like blind simpletons, swimming in the dark. Ignoring through sheer ignorance, the evidence that was staring us in the face: that John was dying. I mean we did know that. It's difficult to articulate. None of us having faced that in any great depth before, we literally could not, or refused to, see it in John's demenour, or simply, his face.

The answer to the question of whether it would have made any difference whether we had known, or realised just how close to death John was, in tems of what treatment he received and was recommended... the answer is obvious, and  terrible.  But we just Did Not Know. We felt like we were in an experiential vaccuum. Obviously, Beau is benefiting from our new, unwelcome knowledge and thank goodness she is.

I don't really talk about this aspect of John's death too much because it is too painful. I cling to the knowledge that we knew no better. What sickens me is that the consultants should have. The only thing I can do, because there is literally no point in thinking anything else, is to seek solace in the most cliched of cliches: What's done is done. Put simply: it in fact is irrelevant how I feel about it. John's not going to come back because I feel guilt, is he. So one has to move on, simply because there's no point not doing.

The feelings? If I stop and take stock of them? More anger, more sickness, more remorse and more horror has entered my heart this year than will ever do (I very much hope). Those feelings are not going to go away, and I don't ignore them, but I do compartmentalise them until the point that they're bubbling over the top of the cauldron. then all hell breaks loose for an evening.

It sort of helps, having hada a glass or two. I'd never say this stuff normally.

All quiet on the western front

Nothing desperately new to alert you to. The obsession with "In the night Garden" continues apace. James is jumping like a nut around the room at all times, and slap bang in the middle of his pro-consonant-challenge speech-athons, he now says, quite clearly and distinctly, the word "cup", quite often!

They're both being particularly awesome at present.

I was thinking yesterday how it's a little unfair that the rest of the world may (justifiably) riase their eyebrows if you attempt to articulate the point that although you may love your partner, and have loved other partners before them, you only really understand what true, lay-your-life-down-for-them LOOOOVE is in the context of your kids. I watched the last few minutes of a drama about Jack Kipling, Rudyard Kipling's 18 year old son, who Rudyard actiuvely encouraged to go to war. The First world War. He died, with the countless hundreds of thousands of others, and it was well enough told to put yourself in that position.

Needless to say, the thought of losing James to a war was quite horrifying enough to cause a small outbreak of tears-in-eyes. And yet it happens to people all the time. Young lads are k,illed in Afghanistan regularly at the moment - not even mentioning the state of Iraq, now it has helpfully been freed from the tyranny of non-democratic rule.


Sob... I am so tired

Got up at 5am to get a plane. The plane home is delayed. It's now 9.40, they reckon it won't be get-on-able for another 20 minutes.

It was due to go at 9.10, which was already going to get me home at past midnight.

Blimey, there's a massive tidal surge going to happen tonight in the east. I hope everyone'll be ok.

Enraptured: Nora's first classical music gig

We trooped off to The Barbican to watch the English Symphony Orchestra play a gig of childrens music including Flight Of The Bumble Bee, William Tell, that sort of thing but, most importantly, the whole of Peter and The Wolf.

I was slightly nervous in that I couldn't remember how loud The Barbican was acoustically, and Nor can get a bit upset by loud things (see previous fireworks related post) but in fact, from the moment we went in to the half empty hall (went in early so she could get her bearings) she was asking questions, concentrating, working hard and loving every bloody minute.

When the flute played the opening bars of 'Peter', being the bird, n'all, the look on her face when she turned to me was a picture of joy and excitement.

She is, very often, a fantastic person.

...5 minutes

Or thereabouts.

Nora actually watched the fireworks, outside, for a sustained 5 minutes, before unfortunately having requested to go a little bit too close (about 250 yards from the action), went all overcome-d by the loud bangs of the high bombs (or whatever you call them) and burst in to tears.

But they were magnificent.

I love fireworks, me. Of the municipal, expensive, or one better - international fireworks festival type kind*. They lift the spirits and heart with a big fat does of generalised WOW!ness. An astonishing human achievement in explosives tinkering... and all just so everyone will go...


*Been to several of those. they're usually held over water - went to one in Windsor when I was far too young, and I think Steve or I screamed the place down constantly for about half an hour. They seem to have international festivals often in Vancouver, which is wonderful, with the bay n'all. Where O&P used to live, near to the park and the sea meant we just strolled down one year and were slap bang in the middle of it. Glorious. The most memorable though was a quatorze juillet display around the Eiffel Tower. They had lit up the tower from top to bottom, then at the apointed hour, all the lights went out, and the crowd roar was glorious. Every crescendo of high beautiful bombs seemed to be bettered, again, and again until the crowd around us (and McK and I, of course) were standing, eyes and mouths gaping, looking up and just laughing, laughhing, laughing! For joy and because no other response seemed adequate to the astonishment at the scene. Glorious.