Goblins in the broadband

AKH! THAT GOBLIN that has been chasing the hamster so vigorously has got in me broadband and is not letting me go online.

I'm still alive though.

Will post something more interesting tomorrow. Woulnd't dare here, the system's so slow...

WISHING A TELLYTUBBY WEEKEND TO ONE AND ALL..!

Brown Bears!

FURRY FRIDAY ON SATURDAY...


REAL-LIFE TEDDY BEARS!


BROWN BEARS are native to vast swathes of the northern hemisphere from Europe, through Russia, Alaska, Canada and the central United States... This shaggy-furred lumberer is a Kodiak bear, a brown bear subspecies


The brown bear is the national beast of Finland

Brown bears are real-life Teddy Bears


The most savage of all bear species, brown bears hunt and eat other bears (especially American black bears), and even Siberian tigers... as well as man...


Their favourite activity seems to be standing in the middle of fast-flowing rivers waiting for salmon to leap out during spawning season...


Aren't baby bears cute!


They look like little furry goblins ...


Hammy heard that: "Goblins?!?! I'm outta here!"

WISHING Y'ALL A CHEERY WEEKEND!

Hammy in winter ...


YEP, winter is upon us. Creeping up, closing in. Darkness surrounds us. It's in the air. The aroma of bonfires, the stench of death.
Autumn is my favourite time of year, being the time golden hamsters are at their tubbiest, hamstering away a gargantuan hoard of goodies to last all winter through.
As the days grow shorter and colder, so the wild hammy gradually gets more and more lethargic. Eventually he realizes the time has come for the Big Sleep. Carefully he barricades himself in, blocking all burrow entrances in case a naughty poisonous snake slithers down the tunnels while the tiny tubby is "torpid". (Hamsters don't technically hibernate.)
Then little hammy goes into a deep sleep, breathing only a few times a minute, as his body temperature falls. Every 4-8 days he wakes up for long enough to bumble out of bed into his bathroom (hammies never wee in their bed, if you've ever kept one has a pet you'll remember they usually use the furthest corner opposite for wee-wees). Anyway he does a wee, then his tubby bum vanishes down dank and mysterious pitch black tunnels deep into the lower depths of his burrow. He returns football-faced, pouches packed to their furthest extreme with a face-full of goodies upon which he nibbles till sleep overtakes him yet again.
When the burrow warms up, hammy re-excavates the burrow entrance and ta-daa! A bright springtime world full of daffodils and bumblebees, warm breezes whispering through the leafy trees. Harvest mice and dormice and woodmice are all scurrying in the bushes. Hurrah! says hammy, fresh seeds! And off he pings into the sparkling sunshine.

EVA CASSIDY: AUTUMN LEAVES

A degree of competence is required ...

MY EMAIL GOT READ OUT ON THE BBC (AGAIN!)

Anne Diamond, former presenter of breakfast TV, was standing in for Vanessa Feltz who's on her hols. I've phoned in and spoken to Anne Diamond before now and have to say she's very engaging. I can see why she's such an illustrious track record in presenting... Anyway here goes. A level results were out today. The conversation yesterday (on BBC London radio 94.9) was about young people going to university and the extortionate cost of this:

Good morning Anne
In days gone by ~ generally speaking ~ a degree was was a luxury. Three years off in which to delve into a subject of personal interest. The resulting degree proves to future employers that you're intelligent enough and have the sticktoitiveness to achieve a bachelor of arts or science.
With the exception of some science subjects and perhaps law, the degree never was meant to "qualify" you for anything in particular.
The problem nowadays is that with so very many young people going to university, a degree no longer sets you apart. As far as I can see, in most cases it merely gets you into debt.
In my day~ two decades ago ~ the standing joke was "What do you say to a sociology graduate? Burger and fries please." Change that to "media studies" and you're bang up to date!
Nearly 20 years ago I read modern languages at uni, but sadly had to drop out due to health difficulties. Knowing what I do now, I would advise a young person to take a vocational course with a clear career goal at the end of it, or to do languages. At least languages are useful and open up opportunities to work abroad.
I would dearly like to go back and finish my languages degree, but this time I'm working on getting my German fluent enough to get on a mother tongue German course actually in Germany ~ where tuition fees, incidentally, are a fraction of what they are here.


The health problems that forced me to drop out were basically depression. I was signed off an entire term on medical grounds at one point. When I left, I was coming to a point where I had to go to Berlin ~ a year to which I'd really have looked forward, if I'd only been in my right mind. But I was not in my right mind at all. Taking a year out or "intercalating" was not an option as I had no means of support and the DSS did not at this time pay benefits to anyone who was a registered student ~ whether actively studying or not.
All modern languages courses require a year out in the appropriate country. The only course I've ever come across that doesn't is Burmese at SOAS. The Burmese language has the world's most beautiful system of writing. And a degree in Burmese ain't gonna be any less useful than one in English literature or sociology, is it..?.For obvious reasons, a year spent in Burma is not too practicable.
And it was indeed the idea of doing a German degree again that got me reading and blogging in that language. I remember my former counsellor, who'd done BA French, informing me it was quite normal for degree students to rely on English translations when doing European literature. Which I found truly pathetic. (I thought it was just me and my dreadful command of languages who was reduced to this, but apparently not at all...)
So I decided if I ever did go back I would know German well enough to surf through all books in the original first time around. And no reference to any translation. At all. Ever ...


ENYA: EXILES
I've found this tune going round and round my brainbox of late. Cold as the northern wind and December mornings ... It matches my mood ... For a couple of weeks now I've had an unaccountable autumnal feeling, despite it still being "summer". Summer is over for me. Darkness surrounds us. I feel it. O, how I feel it..



COMPETITION ANSWER:
No prize, except the satisfaction of knowing how knowledgeable y'are... the squiggles are GABELSBERGER SHORTHAND in the German language. Unlike traditional English language systems which are geomatric (Pitman, Sloane-Duployan) or cursive-geometric (Gregg), Gabelsberger's method employed a full shorthand alphabet (as the hieroglyphic-looking Teeline system does in English), giving the squiggly appearance. It has been praised for having "a beauty of form and outline that is unsurpassed". it can also be squiggled, so it is claimed, at speeds of up to 500 syllables per minute, which ain't bad!

Stabbed with a pear in the house of the dead ...

I AM READING NOTES FROM THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD, a cheery tome by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, author of Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Devils, The Brothers Karamazov (which my English teacher dubbed "the most boring book ever written") and The Insulted and Injured ~ I'm sure the authors of modern misery memoirs are peeved to find that particularly evocative title already used up!

I had some drinks this afternoon and sat under an electronic posterboard leafing through the cheery tale, which is set in a Siberian hard labour camp.

Dostoyevsky's characters ~ murderers, alcoholics, gamblers ~ remind me of some of the junkies I have met in my time ... I'm not saying anything else.

I googled various topics concerning Siberian labour camps and came up with a page from a school punishment book, detailing how many lashes of the cane various miscreants received for such crimes as stabbing someone with a pear(!) and grave robbing~(!!!) Am I badly misreading things (you can click on the picture to enlarge)~? Or was the world even crazier in Victorian times (or whenever those whippings are from)..? ~ than it is now?? (Surely not!)



I thought I would invent some comedy crimes of my own ...

The only sample offences I could come up with were:

Allowing school hamster to grow too tubby.

Allowing goblin to chase school hamster
...


I don't think I'd have done too well making up school rules in the dark ages, do you?

COMPETITION TIME ~ roll up and give your guesses, educated or otherwise, please! Tell me WHAT LANGUAGE ARE THESE SCRIBBLES WRITTEN IN?

Answers in the commentary box, if yer please...

PS the end of my HAMMY AND THE GOBLIN tale of wonder is coming soon. I bet y'all are yawning with excitement!

Chalk Figures ...

ENGLAND'S BIGGEST TOURIST ATTRACTIONS ...


The Uffington Horse, Oxfordshire


In Wiltshire there are several realistic White Horses ...


When I was tiny, I had an old maiden aunt, who lived in an ancient cottage with metre-thick walls deep in the Wiltshire countryside.
The house was near The Westbury White Horse


Trotting White Horse, Wiltshire Hills


Baby White Horse, Devizes, Wiltshire.
The newest chalk horse, produced in 1999
(To make these, you just excavate the grass and the chalk's right there; they only need filling in with fresh chalk when they get really old)


The leaping Folkestone White Horse in Kent


The Long Man of Wilmington is a 70 metre tall giant on a cliff south of the village of Wilmington in the South Downs, between Eastbourne and Brighton in the county of East Sussex


But the most famous figure stands "only" 55 metres high in Cern Abbas in Dorset. He is best known for being "excited" ...


The "excitement" stands 3-4 metres high ...
(Visitors to the site keep making it bigger~!)
The figure is generally believed to be an ancient fertility god
But the historian Aubrey Manning posited that he is in fact a caricature of the only president (1649-1658) England has ever had, Oliver Cromwell!
He kind of looks surprised to be stark naked ...


In 2007, Homer Simpson appeared next to the giant


Executed in white paint, the figure was a publicity stunt promoting the latest Simpsons movie


Phil Mitchell on crack


ROLL UP ROLL UP FOR A GOOD LAUGH!
Eastenders is prime time soap here in the UK.
It's probably unique in that it attracts (or used to in its heyday) a roughly 50:50 male-female demographic.
In these scenes Phil Mitchell, moody bullying alcoholic "hardman" of Albert Square gets trashed on crack for the very first time. He is with Rainie Cross, the addict sister of Tanya Branning.
This is my first time watching somebody on a drug I (used to) love without it setting off some sort of craving. In fact it made me feel a bit sick.
I would say the unrealistic thing about this scene is that people on crack don't generally laugh hysterically. In fact, they don't laugh at all...*






And here's Phil just on the lovely old drink... Shouldn't laugh, but this is hilarious:




AMY WINEHOUSE AND PETE DOHERTY WASTED
If this ain't them, it's too v accurate lookielykies...
And yes that's baby mice they're picking up and playing with. Which you shouldn't do, because the mother might refuse to feed them if they smell of human




*By the way the last thing you want to do is exercise someone whose heart is going haywire on crack. Walking people round is a supposed antidote to heroin overdose. What you should actually do is make sure they are breathing and that the airways are clear. If they stop breathing you'll need to recussitate mouth-to-mouth. Call an ambulance, say somebody has fallen unconscious and cannot be roused. Don't mention drugs. British police are highly unlikely to take an interest in drug overdoses. In fact I've never even heard of anyone getting "busted" for "going over". What I have heard of is people dying because their mates were too scared to call an ambulance in case they got into trouble ....

Goblin Attack!

FURRY FRIDAY ON SATURDAY


Hopefully I'll be safe today!


Where is the goblin?


Look at this! I weigh far too little for a goblin to gobble for dinner.


I hope goblins can't swim ...


Yawn ... I'm tired!


I think I'll take a little nap ...


Akh cripes! The goblin has caught me!


In a cage with potted pixie-plants ...
Ach! How annoying.


WISHING Y'ALL A CHARMING WEEKEND!

Lux Aurumque

WATCH THIS
It is amazing.

ERIC WHITACRE: LUX AURUMQUE
1,140,009 hits so far.
185 singers, performing at home alone. Conducted by Eric Whitacre and assembled together on computer.
The nearest thing to "music of the spheres" you might hear in this lifetime...


The Titbits

FURRY FRIDAY ...


Hammy was out for a morning ramble, looking for titbits...


Ach! A rotten apple and some dandelion leaves! I was hoping for something a bit more exciting....


This isn't the type of "titbit" I had in mind!


I'm going back to bed!




SHOSTOKOVICH JAZZ SUITE - WALTZ #2
This tune is so good, you can just tell it's written about a hamster.
Recorded live. The crowd love it so much they sing along la-la-lar...


The Non-Secret of Novel Writing

BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD
Not telling secrets to writing bestselling fiction.

Because she's saying "there is no formula".
Though I do agree with her philosophy that "character is plot".
All the stuff I've ever tried to write follows that maxim.
I wish I could write. I've got a golden idea that I have been scribbling down. I just feel so incredibly low down and I know even if it does get finished I won't make two brass ha'pennies out of it. But I'm going to finish this thing if it kills me. It's an original idea (not "like such and such person's work" or "in the style of someone else".
Some of the worst advice to the would-be author came from somebody I would call a wannabe, a second-rater, a "me too". This person advised you to read other authors who are already publishing stuff similar to what you want to write. O and I just... akh. No.
Anyway I've got to go and write my story. I won't get any less miserable by not writing it...



PS Do you notice how her TV adaptations are so nicely produced? That's because Barbara is married to Bob Bradford, TV producer extraordinaire...

My keyboard test result:

77 WPM when I raced. But dropped my fag on the floor and had to pick it up before it set the house on fire. My ordinary typing speed is just over 60wpm. I didn't want to go full tilt because the reading would be false ~ I would never race like that in real life.

Got nothing else to post; too miserable.

Typing Test

HOW FAST CAN YOU TYPE?

Find out here:

http://www.lecturel.com/clavier/words-per-minute.php

I'll tell ya tomorrow how many WPM I scored...

I got put on the subject by this comment-conversation found by accident on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=7338154084&topic=13311



Hamster Cleaner Horror!


Akh! The German Kobold-Goblin is hunting me again!


I was so stressed, I did a wee on the carpet!


Mummy cleaned up the rug...


Akh! I'm sure I can hear a bloody hissing goblin!


Can't see any goblins... Just a vacuum cleaner thing ...


Akh! No wonder! It's a Goblin Steam Cleaner!!


I don't trust any type of goblin ...


I'm going to bed!