sarahkbee: Doctor Who books (book)
Finally watching the last three series of Stargate Atlantis, and at the end of season three John compares himself and his team with the Fantastic Four...with Rodney as The Human Torch, and John as Mr Fantastic. I think in this case John may be deluding himself; he so clearly should have those two swapped round!

Driving

Apr. 11th, 2012 12:35 am
sarahkbee: drawn pic of Arthur (yellow car)
I drove very nearly five hundred miles over the Easter weekend. It is entirely possible that this is more than I've driven in the whole of the ten-fifteen years before that.
I have driven up the Long Mynd - up a one-in-four single-track road, with a steep drop on one side and a steep climb on the other, and snow on a bit of the road. When Mum or Dad used to drive up there when my sister and I were kids we both used to huddle on the side of the car as far away from the drop as possible, so driving to the top myself just gave me a huge sense of achievement.
I have driven down endless tiny single-track roads, at about 15 mile per hour because there is no verge and the road bends every ten feet so you have no idea what, if anything, is coming the other way. Thankfully, usually nothing was coming, and on the rare occasions there was another car it, too, was going nice and slowly so we could edge round one another. It's rather an odd sensation to finally reach a village or small town, with a sign showing a speed limit of 30 mph, and realise that 30 now feels *really* fast!
I have driven down the A417/A419/M4 in driving rain and busy traffic with lousy visibility due to clouds of spray.
I have driven through Gloucester on a Saturday lunchtime and through the centre of Ludlow on a Saturday afternoon - and I have to say I could quite happily *never* drive through the centre of Ludlow ever again, no matter what time of day. A street that is *just* wide enough for a Fiesta plus the pedestrians (who had been merrily walking down the centre of the street until I turned into it) is not my idea of fun!
After fifteen years of not driving, taking lessons to get back into it was definitely one of my best choices for years, and after this weekend my confidence on the road is about a million times better. If I can do all that I did this weekend I can drive anywhere.

So

Mar. 23rd, 2012 09:28 pm
sarahkbee: Tree covered in snow (tree)
I'm watching a documentary on Peter Gabriel's album 'So'. It's fascinating, especially the fact that Sledgehammer was the song that brought him into the mainstream. I remember that song very clearly; it was all over the place when I was about 15, with endless people wittering on about what an amazing video it was. And to be fair, it was - is - an amazing video, even more so for the time it was made. But the whole thing did nothing for me; not the song, not the video; nothing. In fact it was the only piece of work by Peter Gabriel that I knew and it put me right off his music for years.

It wasn't until four years later at university that I came across the rest of his work - starting with Solsbury Hill - and was amazed to discover that this fantastic song was by the same person that made the incredibly dull Sledgehammer. And that started a love affair for his music that's still with me 20 years on; he is, without a doubt, my favourite artiste. These days I even quite like Sledgehammer - although not when accompanied by the video, oddly enough.

Also, cool - I never realised they were real (dead/plucked/oven-ready) chickens on the video.

Sherlock

Jan. 14th, 2012 11:05 pm
sarahkbee: Tree covered in snow (Mycroft)
What is the point Sherlock spoilers )
sarahkbee: Doctor Who books (book)
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Ben Aaronovitch wrote one of my all-time favourite books, "The Also People", so when I saw "Rivers of London" in the bookshop I snapped it up, and would have read it sooner if it weren't for my ongoing efforts to reduce the backlog of unfinished books (trying to finish a part-read book in between each 'want to read' book).
Peter Grant is a constable just finishing up his probationary period in the Met when he accidentally interviews a ghost about a murder - accidentally because until then he didn't believe in ghosts.  This leads to him becoming the apprentice of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.
It reminds me of the Harry Dresden and the Felix Castor series', with someone discovering that there is still magic, and he can do it, while the rest of the world (us) carry on oblivious.  But for all that it's readable and enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

sarahkbee: Doctor Who books (book)
The Misogynist by Piers Paul Read
Bought this sometime in the early summer, as part of a 3 for 2 offer.  Read a bit, got distracted, read some more in the late summer and ground to a halt about halfway through the book.  It's not bad, but it's a rather depressing view of men and relationships, which I think was part of why I kept stopping.  Finally finished it a couple of days ago, and I'm not sure I'd re-read it - one of the main reasons I actually finished it was because it's part of the shelf-and-a-half of unfinished and unread books that I'm determined to try and get through (or at least reduce) before I buy any more books.
The main character is a retired chap called Jomier, whose wife left him some years ago.  He's bitter about this, and definitely bitter towards her, but not so much a misogynist, perhaps, as just a misanthrope in general.  The book tells of him starting a relationship with another divorcee, a similarly aged woman called Judith, and how this relationship plays out, together with what's happening with his children and grandchildren.  
Possibly I've just read far too much chick-lit, but I definitely found the view of relationships in this book very grim - not necessarily wrong, but not cheerful.
sarahkbee: Doctor Who books (book)
Fascinating book.  I bought it after watching the film - if I love a book and then see the film I almost always dislike or am disappointed by the film, but if I love a film and then read the book I often enjoy the book more than I perhaps might have done otherwise.  Granted, that's a hard one to test, since I can't be sure how much I'd have liked the book otherwise, but I do know the first time I managed to finish Watchmen was after I'd seen the film; before that I'd always ground to a halt about a third of the way through.
Certainly with 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' I found that keeping all the different characters straight in my head was helped hugely by the fact that having seen the film I had a face to match to each name, even though some of the descriptions of the characters' appearances in the book weren't matched by their appearances in the film.
It's a gripping novel and, like the film, I found it very sad - all the betrayals, both professional and personal, and just a sense of loss all through it.  But it's also fascinating for the history aspect of it; I was about four when it was written so it's obviously not a time I really remember, and the world has changed so much since then.  The early 1970's are now closer to the second world war than they are to the present day and reading this really brings that home - how much technology has changed the world in the last 10-15 years, and all the political changes: the fall of the Iron Curtain, Czechoslovakia returning to being two different countries - it's fairly mind-boggling.
Anyway, excellent book, and I went and bought the other two in the set on Thursday, so I shall look forward to reading them.
sarahkbee: Tree covered in snow (tree)
Having heard good things about it, I went to see the film and loved it so much I promptly ordered the book from Amazon when I got home.  The film is excellent - quite slow in places, and terribly, terribly sad, but nonetheless excellent - both intelligent and gripping.  If what you want is car chases or huge fights (both of which bore me to tears) it's not the film to see, but if you're looking for a smart drama then go and see it!  Plus it has both Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch in it, which is never a bad thing :)
sarahkbee: Tree covered in snow (Default)
Veteran Doctor Who actor Nicholas Courtney, best known for playing Brigadier Alastair Lethbridge-Stewart, has died in London at the age of 81.

There are many people who remember where they were when they heard of the death of Princess Diana or President Kennedy.  I remember where I was when I heard (or read) of the death of William Hartnell, Pat Troughton, Jon Pertwee, and Anthony Ainley.  And now Nick Courtney. 
sarahkbee: Tree covered in snow (Default)

Halle-fucking-lujah!  It not only made it past the House, it made it past the Senate as well!  It looked so promising, when the judge ruled it out, then not, then it made it through the House of Representives, and I couldn't quite believe it would make it through Senate.  But it has!!! No more DADT, and a damn good thing too.
It has nothing to do with me; I don't know anyone serving in the UK armed forces, let alone the US ones.  But it was a barbaric rule in a country that claims to be the leader of the free world, and it's finally gone.

sarahkbee: Tree covered in snow (Default)

SuperFreakonomics

This is an absolutely fascinating book.  I bought it yesterday, but didn't intend to read it right away as I'd just started the second book of the John Marsden "Ellie" trilogy.  But I thought I'd just look at the first page and see if it was as interesting as the original "Freakonomics" book.  That was at about 9:30 last night.  Read steadily 'til midnight, and then finished it when I got home from work tonight.  Takes all sorts of preconceptions and blows them away - well, some of them it blows away, others it shows are depressingly true.
sarahkbee: Tree covered in snow (Default)
Went to see this with Angie on Wednesday.  It was really good - Anne was such a cow I really started to feel that she deserved what was coming to her, although by the time it got to her execution I did feel sorry for her.  More than that I thought that Katherine of Aragon was interesting - at the time of her divorce she must have felt appalled - Henry wanted rid of her so badly that he was willing to set aside the Roman church!  And then just a few years later, he's executing Anne, and Katherine must have been thinking "Well, I guess I almost got off lightly..."
sarahkbee: Tree covered in snow (Default)
Last night was the farewell party for all the staff at Allders. It was a great night; one of those nights you just remember always. Didn't cry until Auld Lang Syne was played at the end and everyone started saying goodbye, at which point at least half the people had their tissues out. Finally made it to bed at about three-thirty, and then had to put the clock forward to four-thirty because British Summer Time started today!

Then today I got to watch the first episode of the new Doctor Who series. Much better than I hoped for, although I think the burping wheelie bin should have been cut. I also think someone should have sewn up the plot hole that had ordinary shop dummies equipped with energy weapons in their hands! Still, after nine years, I'm just glad it's back.

Sleep

Mar. 25th, 2005 03:15 pm
sarahkbee: Tree covered in snow (Default)
I slept from 11pm to 9 am last night, which is the first good night's sleep I've had for about two months. No waking up in the night and then lying there with my brain busily listing all the things I need to do the next day. Bliss!

What's even better - I can do it again tonight.
sarahkbee: Tree covered in snow (Default)
Allders in Basingstoke finally closed at 11am today. I've worked there for eight and a half years, and it's a very strange feeling to know that it's gone. The last two or three weeks have not really been what you might call fun, although it's been absolute heaven to actually be allowed to tell customers that No, they can't have whichever unreasonable request they want, and that if they swear at me again I shall just walk away. Depressingly for the last eight years, that hasn't been something I felt I could do - working in retail can REALLY suck sometimes.

I don't yet have a new job but when I do it'll be 9 - 5, Monday to Friday, and please god, no general public.

Wow, I still can't really believe that it's all gone. All the stock, most of the fixtures, and all the staff - gone.
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