Monthly Archives: December 2011

Night terrors?

I get them. Those nightmares that are so real, that you wake up still in them, and fight things that aren’t there, or panic outrageously.

Here’s an example: I half woke up not so long ago having slept awkwardly (I presume) on my left leg. I couldn’t feel it at all – and this had filtered through to my dream. I was tapping on my left foot, and in my dream, my foot was made of wood. So I woke up convinced that someone had sawn off my foot and replaced it with a wooden one. Which made a wooden tapping sound, like when you knock on, well, wood. I screamed the place down; Joe leapt out of bed and looked for burglars.

I also talk about spoons.

I’m not quite¬†as bad as my friend Muz, who regularly fights with the wardrobe while restraining his wife.

But I digress. The night terrors to which I am currently referring are Grim Night Terrors. I’ve been persuaded by some “friends” and colleagues that it’s a good idea, and I’ll have a great time.

So on Saturday, February 4th, I’m running eight miles across boggy, muddy woodland, jumping through puddles and crawling under cargo nets. In the dark. For fun. And apparently people will be jumping out at us. Last time somebody jumped out at me, I threw my cat in the air and then cried.

It’s this, here.

The charity they support is Macmillan Cancer Support, which is worthy indeed. So I may be tapping people up for a bob or two.

Training is going well so far, although my left knee is – and this is a technical term – a bit shagged. However, I’m sure eight miles of mud will sort it right out. I’m actually quite looking forward to it; particularly the party afterwards; and the people I’m running with are a good bunch really (despite the peer pressure) so it should be amusing. I’ll post some pictures for people to point, and mock, and laugh.


Fawlty bike woe

I suppose you could say that this is a science-related post, being as my motorbike battery is not sending enough charge to fire the damn thing.

This is a short post, which explains how my shonky shitter of a two-wheeled nemesis has ruined today for me. I have a new battery on order, but that won’t help me get to work, or to a hospital appointment.

I have just had a Basil Fawlty moment and put a new crack in the fairing. Without easy access to a handy tree branch or a tent peg, I used my size fives. There’s nothing like starting the day with a bit of rage!

Frozen Planet and an associated short rant

So. The Daily Mirror has chosen to hit back at the BBC – which commented less than favourably on the print media with regards to the Leveson Inquiry – by having a pop at Frozen Planet.

How, you may ask, can anyone find fault with Frozen Planet? It’s a stunning piece of small-screen cinema, beautifully shot, showcasing our beautiful planet at its very best.

Well, apparently not all the polar bear footage was shot in the wild. It transpires that the shots of the polar bear mother with her cubs, in their den, were shot at a zoo. This is clearly documented on the website, but various people in the gutter press and their shambling drones are calling foul and accusing David Attenborough of being a fake.

Now, we’ll start with the fact that any cameraman venturing into a polar bear den in the wild is going to get his face eaten, followed by his camera, followed by the rest of him.

And go on to the fact that some people just have to bring things down. They can’t let a thing of beauty be a thing of beauty.

It’s a bit like people who believe in fairies, or¬†homoeopathy, or crystals and spiritual nonsense. Who think that atheists are less filled with wonder than those with religion. This planet – this Universe – is filled with wonder, and the more you learn about how it all works, the more wondrous it seems.

Just let a beautiful piece of television be that: beautiful. And if you want wonder, go out on a dark night, lie on your back, and look up. What more do you need to be staggered by nature?

Addendum to previous

Having got all excited about the fact that an ego-boostingly high number of you darling readers arrived at my blog yesterday, I had a wee look at the search terms. Just for shits and giggles.

Could the person who searched for “fx-9750g hack” please stand up.

Why, for the love of all that is holy, would you want to hack a calculator?

Please note: I am not taking the piss. I actually want to know.

*Ten minutes later, on return from a Google session*

I have had revealed to me a strange new world; a world where grown men spend their time on such fetish sites as and Here, they talk about calculator emulators, the calculator equivalent of Easter eggs, and overclocking the calculator.

No, really – overclocking the calculator.

I’m a girl geek, and proud of it. But I feel, somehow, dirty. And not in a good way.


I like vampire nonsense. I like silly fantasy, and otherworldly gubbins, because although I’m a scientist and believe none of that stuff, in my head there are fairies and goblins and I can move mountains with only the power of my mind.

However, I really must object to Twilight. It’s not only vastly inferior to Buffy the Vampire Slayer while wanting desperately to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer; it also causes me great consternation.

Now, Twilight the first was take-your-brain-out nonsense; an enjoyable enough teenage romp with achingly pretty characters and thousand-yard brooding stares, complete with unfinished sentences and artfully ruffled hair.

But Twilight: New Moon just enraged me. It wasn’t the enjoyable romp that the first Twilight was, which was a shame, but far, far worse than that is the fact that the heroine (and I use the term in the loosest possible sense) Bella is absolutely vacuous.

This is a series of books/films aimed at teenagers; specifically at teenage girls; and the message it is giving them is frankly bloody awful. The only thing – the ONLY thing – we know about Bella is that she loves Edward Cullen the vampire (who’s a bit pale and scrawny for my taste) and that when he buggers off, she spirals into a navel-gazing teenage depression, then loves Jacob the werewolf.

So, we’ve got a female lead with a pretty face and an apparently empty head, who defines her whole being by which defective man she happens to want at the time. The only other thing she does in the whole film is see a movie with one of her girlfriends, then take off randomly for a joyride on the back of some ruffian’s motorbike. Without a helmet. Or knowing who he is. And, okay, the film is giving the message that this decision is a bad one, m’kay?, but again the character makes a decision involving a man. The man isn’t the central part of this decision, but that’s not the point.

This whole issue seems to be pervading society. Where are our future female politicians, lawyers, writers – hell, where are our young women with more ambition than to become a footballer’s wife or get themselves “famous” by appearing on reality TV? When did beauty and self-worth become defined by how few clothes you could get away with wearing around town, and which trendy boy’s arm you’re hanging off?

Things haven’t changed that much; teenagers will be teenagers; but when I was the same age as the demographic that Twilight is really aiming at, these things weren’t more than peripherally important.

Instant media, celebrity culture and the oversexualisation of teenage girls has a lot to answer for. Who’d be a parent today? Parents: I salute you. And I think you’re nuts.