Gripes & Graplings

Friday, September 08, 2006

I've Had Enough so I've Moved!

For those who are interested, I can now be found by following this link.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

General Grappling

Tonight marks the end of ten days of peace. My youngest child has been in Norway but is returning tomorrow, with oldest daughter (middle child) in tow. Noisy music will once again be heard throughout the homestead.

I've too much work to do. I know that's better than not having enough and that I shouldn't moan but bugger it all, I want to moan. Right now it feels good.

Am writing a romantic novel [ducks to avoid flying custard tarts]. Am also enjoying it. It's.... wait for it.... a Mills & Boon! [ducks to avoid flying turds]. Look, I'm gonna say this once and only once. If you haven't read one, don't knock 'em, right? My grandad always said, "if you don't know what you're talking about then keep your gob shut" and that's what I'm repeating to you.

Am getting a new kitchen soon. This is a good thing. Am also getting new interior doors. This is also a good thing.

Am writing my memoirs here. Mostly rubbish because that's what I tend to remember.

That's it.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

British Horse Slaughter

Horses. Not my favourite animals but undoubtedly beautiful and intelligent creatures that absolutely do not deserve to die horrible and cruel deaths at the hands of humans.

Every four minutes a horse is slaughtered in this country. A horse that has done nothing wrong. A horse that simply isn't fast enough for the racing industry, is semi-feral and unwanted, a pregnant mare, an innocent foal. 35,000 every year, most sold abroad for human consumption.

Approximately 15000 horses are bred for the racing industry every year. Only 5000 make it. The remaining 10000 are left to face an uncertain fate, for many that means slaughter. Not by humane euthanasia--even though that costs no more than around £35--but by a stun bolt. The animals are stunned and then hung to bleed before being disembowelled and prepared for sale. For every bet that's placed on horse racing, we're helping fund this abysmal practise.

If you care about horses, take a look at the following website. There's lots of information available and a petition you can sign.

British Horse Slaughter

Sometimes I feel ashamed to call myself human.


horse racing

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Designer Babies & Gender Choice

Should we be able to choose the sex of our children?

What are the two sides of the coin and which is most likely to fall with its face up?

Is there a possibility of a populace imbalance? Is it likely that couples (individuals) will choose one sex over the other? How many designer babies will need to be born before they have any impact on the gender balance?

Will prospective parents in countries like China, where only one child per couple is allowed, be more likely to choose a boy over a girl? Girls, as we know, are not favoured in Chinese society, and the law controlling births have led to girls being "done away with" at birth to make way for a boy. Will designer babies at least ensure that girl babies will no longer need to suffer drowning and other unpleasant deaths?

Is it better that we're able to choose the gender of our children and bestow love on them rather than put up with a child we didn't want? Is this just another step onwards from abortion? Give birth but only to those children we truly desire?

Me? I'm definitely against it. Leave well alone. We've messed around with nature far too much as it is. Boys will be boys and girls will be girls and that's how it's supposed to be.

Yes, some children will suffer for being the wrong sex and that's a terrible thing, but designer babies isn't the answer. Education is what's needed. An understanding that for the world to function, both sexes are needed. After all, if that wasn't the case, wouldn't we all be born hermaphrodite?

Ok, so designer babies could perhaps stop us from becoming a frail and sickly species that's unable to survive the diseases we're surrounded by, but that's another argument entirely.

Related Link: What Are Designer Babies?


Designer Babies

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Step Fathers Are Important People, Too!

So it's Father's Day again. And once again my daughter wanted to get a card that said "To my Step-father" rather than to "Dad" or "My Father" but do you think she could find one?

We looked in three shops, one of which had a huge selection, but not one lousy Step-Father card did we find!

With the divorce rate as high as it is these days and lots of second-marriages, surely there are almost just as many children living with a step-parent as there are living with both their natural parents? So why make it so difficult for those kids to show they appreciate what their step-father's done for them throughout the year? In some cases, it may even be more important than showing gratitude to a father because a step-father's job can be far more difficult. They have to cope with kids who don't want a step-parent in their lives, who see them as a threat to their parents ever getting back together again, and whereas a father has a legal responsibility to care for his kids, a step-father doesn't, and yet many (most?) still do. They clear up their vomit if they're sick in the night, hold their hands when they're scared, and help them with their algebra homework. All of this should be celebrated, surely?

Richard tells me he saw lots of step-father cards in the shop next to the post-office (you know the one I mean, don't you?) but that place must be an exception in this town. LM was quite peeved at not being able to get one and had to settle for something neutral in the end. A funny one that she thought Richard would appreciate.

I know it shouldn't matter, that it's just a card, but for the kids who want to show their appreciation to their step-fathers along the same lines as they'd show it to their fathers (and remember that a lot of them have fathers who show little or no interest in them), it can be quite an issue. Isn't it enough that they live in an 'untraditional' family unit, without having it rubbed in by the card industry?


PS: Spent the morning at the boot market. Couldn't find a pair anywhere!

Monday, June 05, 2006

The End of the World is Nigh

Or so say the doom merchants who believe that 6.6.06 will be the date for the apocalypse.

I'm not sure where they get their data from although judging by the numbers I'd hazard a guess that there's some kind of connection with 'The Beast' going on. The number 666, as mentioned in Revelations, has now become the date for us to kiss our loved ones goodbye.

So what's going to happen? Are Satanists planning to dissolve the planet in a huge acid bath? Where will they get it from? And what will happen to it afterwards?

Evidently, people in the US are so certain that the world's about to end tomorrow that they've been rushing to the bookies in order to place their bets. 10-1's being offered at the moment.

What I want to know though is, if this prophecy does come true and we're all history by tomorrow midnight, who's going to make the pay outs on the wagers? And who'll be left to spend it?

Some folks just don't think things through, do they?


Monday, May 29, 2006

If You Watch TV You'll Lose Your Marbles!

I read something interesting t'other day. Interesting because it seems, for once, I'm doing something right. It's not often I discover that, but luck was with me on this particular occasion.

I was flicking through a magazine (Good Housekeeping, I believe) when I came across an article that caught my eye. Basically, it said that those who watch a lot of TV are more likely to suffer from Altzheimer's in old age than those who engage in intellectual activities. Three hours or more of TV a day was particularly bad.

The brain, of course, is a muscle, and like any other muscle, it needs to be exercised if it's to be kept in tip-top condition. For every hour we spend veging in front of the TV in a semi-conscious state, (a state where we're not actually learning anything, just being fed information - there's a difference), we're increasing our chances of Altzheimer's.

I'd imagine that those who work in mind-numbing jobs like call-centres where they do nothing but follow a script all day, or production lines in factories, must be practically guaranteed to be heading for Altzheimer's.

Anyway, I thought I'd have a mooch round the old Internet and see if I could find any additional information on this, and came up with some stuff that a Dr Friedland and his team of researchers at a couple of US universities have said. Evidently, of those studied, people with Altzheimer's were less likely to have had intellectual hobbies and were unlikely to have had such a wide range of interests as their healthy peers. They also all watched a lot of TV.

While watching TV is a passive activity, both physically and mentally, intellectual activities include reading, solving crosswords, doing jigsaw puzzles, knitting, and woodworking.

Physical activity also plays its role. Those who are less active are three times more likely to develop Altzheimer's than those who partake in activities such as gardening, sports, or playing a musical instrument.

The good news is that, as far as intellectual activities go, its never too late to get started.

Luckily, although I can't take much physical exercise anymore, I watch very little TV and have a crossword book in the loo to pass the time with when "finishing off" takes a little longer than usual. I read, I knit, I do jigsaws. I wonder whether surfing the Net falls into the intellectual category or not?

This is serious research so next time you sit there being served by Murdoch's miserable brain mushing tripe, give some thought to how your carers are going to feel when you can no longer remember where the toilet is let alone solve a crossword while you're in there!

Related Link: Findings presented on Alzheimer's disease, brain gymnastics, and lead


Altzheimers's Disease

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Chicklit and Other Bookish Stuff

Why is it such a bad thing to like chicklit? Everywhere I go, I see women reading them (you can almost always tell by the cover, can't you?) and yet whenever I tell anybody I like them, I'm almost always met with a look of disapproval.

What is all this snobbery? Why should only certain types of books be acceptable for reading when millions of chicklit and other types of romantic fiction stories are sold and enjoyed by people from all walks of life? Who's to say that chicklit books are just trashy, mind-numbing garbage that should never be allowed to see the light of day? All I can say is that those people who insist on sticking two fingers up at anything other than just the one kind of book they believe to be intellectually acceptable are missing out on a lot of entertainment. The same goes for music and films. I'm afraid I can't be doing with all that snobbery. I like lots of different types of books, lots of different types of music and, although I'm not big into films, will watch them from a variety of genres.

Surely reading from just one genre is like only ever eating one type of cake? I don’t know about you but I'd get sick to death of walnut slice, even though it's my favourite, if I had to eat that every time I fancied some cake. Fruit cake and sponge cake are nice, too. Lemon cake's good, as is carrot cake and cheese cake. I might eat more walnut slice than any other kind but I'll be damned if I'm going to eat ONLY walnut slice.

Chicklit makes me smile. It's light entertainment where women (many of which I can relate to) are put into situations that could possibly be solved in a reasonably easy way but for the sake of entertainment, the author has them tripping up and making tits of themselves along the way. The same goes for the men who appear in the stories. And let's face it, whether it's a romance, a murder mystery or a horror story, there's nothing entertaining about a story where everything goes smoothly, is there?

Comedy's good for us. There's enough to be miserable about in this world as it is so if escaping into chicklit helps bring a smile to my face, what's the problem? I really don't get it. If I want to be frightened, I'll read a horror. If I want suspense, I'll read a mystery. If I want to cry, I'll read a soppy romance. And if I want to laugh, I'll read a comedy.

I don't read sci-fi or fantasy. I've tried but I can't stand it. But do I tell those who enjoy it that they're making some kind of literary mistake? Of course not. It's up to them what they want to read.

So next time you give me that "down the nose" look just because I happen to be reading chicklit (or -- dare I say it -- Mills & Boon!!!), please remember that it's my choice and, unlike you, I'm capable of enjoying different things on different levels for different reasons.

Whatever happened to live and let live?

Rant over.

Related Link: ChickLit Books



Thursday, May 18, 2006

Don't Look Down!

According to some scientist or another -- or maybe even several, I'm not sure -- people suffering from depression are more likely to look down whilst walking.

Well quite honestly, is it surprising they're depressed? I'd be bloody depressed, too, if I kept bumping into things because I wasn't looking where I was going, wouldn't you?

Actually I have suffered from depression. Still do if I don't take my 'loony juice', as Richard calls it. It's real name's Fluoxetine, otherwise known as Prozac. I don't think it had anything to do with bumping into things, though. Probably more the fact that I was learning to live with -- still am learning to live with -- my medical situation, being stuck in this poxy little house after being used to having plenty of room, having my freedom removed (evidently I can't move away from this borough as no other health authority is likely to take me because of the cost of my medical needs) and not being particular happy about being in England. A few other things were mixed in for good measure but I don't need to go into them all. One very big one was, and still is, that I'm no longer sure who the hell I am.

I left England when I was 19 and came back as a 36 year old woman. People change a lot during that time, right? Only I came back and found myself confused - almost as though that part of my life hadn't happened because I couldn't relate to the things a 36 year old normally would be able to. I didn't know how the tax system worked, how to claim financial help for my son, or even how to pay my bills (yes, something as simple as that is done differently in Norway). And then there were the friends I'd had when I left. Some were still around and again, I felt confused. They didn't know me, the person I'd grown into. They knew the Sharon that left 18 years earlier and I felt as though I was still expected to be that person. They hadn't changed much -- I suppose because they had the same influences the whole time -- but I had. Did I really fit in? I didn't know. I kept trying but all the while I kept losing more of myself.

My depression, I suppose, was a culmination of all of those things. It isn't something I talk about much - in fact, I don't think I've really spoken about it to anybody. Not even my closest friends really know how I feel. Why? Stop asking such difficult questions!

What's the point in writing this? I DON'T BLOODY WELL KNOW! It all started off with bumping into stuff so blame the scientists! It's gotta be somebody else's fault. Right?

Related Link:



Sunday, May 14, 2006

Blogger's Broken.... AGAIN!!

Bloody place! I take the time to update my sidebar with some fancy banner type adverts to take the place of those boring Google ads and what happens? The bloody thing's broken! You can post but you can't update your template! Grrrrrr (make sure you hear that sound properly - it's a cross between a Pit Bull and a White Tiger).

Am I allowed to swear?

I bet it's because I didn't forward that email with the photos of the soldiers cuddling kittens and what-have-ya the other day. Damn! I knew it'd come back to haunt me.