Monthly Archives: May 2015

Cuddly avacado

Awww! Cute cuddly cuddling avocado!

Image: Hanna Dovhan

Image: Hanna Dovhan

More wonderful woollen creations can be found here: http://annadovgan.tumblr.com/ and here:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/Wooolsculpture?ref=l2-shopheader-name

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Gummy Lego!

You may recall the chocolate Lego that I posted about a number of months ago. Well, now there’s gummy Lego that you can actually build with!

Image: The King of Random

Image: The King of Random

Image: The King of Random

Image: The King of Random

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Tolerant traffic lights

Last Saturday was an annual event that I look forward to but which is pure torture for my wife, and which she falls asleep during most years. I’m talking about the camp kitsch-fest, the Eurovision* Song Contest. This year, it was hosted in Austria, and to celebrate the bearded lady who won last year, new traffic lights have been installed around Vienna that celebrate diversity and LGBT couples. There has been some controversy surrounding the cost of installing these new lights around the city, but they have been embraced by locals and are going to be rolled out to other cities across Austria. Personally, I think that they are a great idea, and wish that such things could be found here in the UK. I fear though that here there would be too much backlash, or they would be vandalised by individuals with too much testosterone and too much prejudice in their system to think straight (or in this case, think too straight). Despite the image that this country tries to maintain, we will never be comfortable enough and inclusive enough to institutionalise such views without falling foul of someone who can’t see past the stigma and who does not understand humanity in all of its many possibilities.

The new lights, depicting both hetero- and homosexual couples

The new lights, depicting both hetero- and homosexual couples


* Yes, I know that it was the 60th Contest, but how does that validate the inclusion of Australia? And since when have Azerbaijan and Israel been part of Europe?

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Hyalinobatrachium dianae – The see-through Kermit

I suspect that you saw this last month when it seemed to be everywhere on the internet for a while, but I didn’t get around to posting about it. In Costa Rica, scientists have discovered the first new glass frog since 1973, and this one is rather interesting, as it bears a striking resemblance to a certain green, froggy puppet. See for yourself:

Image: Brian Kubicki, Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre

Image: Brian Kubicki, Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre

The new species- Diane’s Bare-hearted glass frog- is only an inch long, and is thought to have been unknown for so long due to its whistle-like call resembling that of an insect. And why the name glass frog? Ta-dah!

Image: Brian Kubicki, Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre

Image: Brian Kubicki, Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre

 

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New books: February/March/April

I didn’t see the point in putting a new books post up for these months individually, as I’ve only had one or two each month. They’d have been pretty pointless posts. So the combined haul is as follows:

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  • Jack Kerouac – On the Road: The Original Scroll     £3
  • Aesop – Aesop’s Fables     99p
  • Ken Kesey – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest     50p
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky – Notes from the Underground        25p (library sale)
  • Yevgeny Zamyatin – We      25p (library sale)
  • Fred Wander – The Seventh Well      25p (library sale)
  • L. Frank Baum – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz      75p

I mentioned in my review of On the Road that I was interested in reading the unedited version, so the discovery of this in a Waterstones’ sale was quite nice. Also, you may notice from a previous post that I already have a Penguin Classics version of We. However, I read this recently (expect the review at some point in 2017…) and couldn’t follow it too easily, so wondered whether a different translation may help.

Also, Penguin have recently released a series of ‘Little Black Classics’ as per their previous small classics ranges for notable Penguin anniversaries, and I’ve had a few of these (all 80p each). I’m sure you can read the titles for yourself:

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Lastly, I have had more books than this over the past few months. I’ve purchased two poetry that I’ve forgotten to photograph:

    • Seamus Heaney – District and Circle
    • Simon ArmitageTyrannosaurus Rex versus The Corduroy Kid

Along with these (and after these) I’ve also bought quite a number of Ted Hughes books to try and complete my collection. These have all come off eBay and the tax paradise of Amazon, but I’m still waiting for a few more to arrive, so will do a separate post on all of these in due course (privatised Royal Mail permitting).

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Life update #14.5

I’ve just realised after typing that last post why I’ve been feeling so morose. That bloody election result. It’s still bugging me, and it made me realise that I hate people. Five years of crap, and so what shall we do? Vote for five years of the same crap again. Why thank you very much.

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Life update #14

Why hello! Fancy you reading this! I suppose I’d better apologise yet again for the lack of blogging that has gone on this past month. For one, I haven’t had a lot to blog about, but also life, work (it’s GCSE time again!) and sleep seem to have taken over. We’re looking to move house soon (have I already mentioned this?), but are having real issues finding somewhere- in part because landlords and estate agents don’t actually seem to get back to us when we inquire. We did have a viewing arranged for last weekend at the most perfect house, but then it turns out to have been let before we even had chance to see it. To say we were (and still are) pissed off is putting it mild. This is dragging us all down at the moment, and sleep seems to win out over staying up late at night and worrying/fretting/typing on a temperamental keyboard that takes five times longer than it should to type a sentence on. However, it’s half term now (the joys of working in a school!), so this has provided a small window for catching up on some much-needed posting time. I’ve had to borrow a laptop from work though so as I can get some work done and get these posts typed up more quickly.

Talking of work- I may be going to Oxford next month on a conference, which should be pleasant, and which I’m secretly looking forward to. Neither my wife nor I have been down since my graduation in September 2013, so we’re both pretty homesick for the place. We’ve been wanting to go down for a few days every holiday, but haven’t either had the time or the train fare. I’d feel a bit bad going without the rest of the family, though. It’s bad enough for them that in July I’m going down for two days with work to stay at my college, St. Hugh’s.

What else is happening in my life? Oh yes- it doesn’t seem as though my poetry submission has got anywhere, as I still haven’t heard back and it’s been a number of months now. Is that how long it usually takes to hear back, or will this silence be a permanent thing? I s’pose I may as well bite the bullet and just send them on mass to as many publishers as I can, but I am still fearful of rejection. I know all wannabe writers go through it, and that I’m just being a wimp, but- my work’s shit, and I don’t need other people’s rejection to tell me that. I’d intended over Easter on beginning the next book of poetry (I’ve got the odd line, poem title and fragments scribbled down ready from when I wrote my first collection, but haven’t yet worked them into some sort of order), but despite buying a brand new notebook, I didn’t get anywhere. Not so much as a word written in it. I’d also planned on getting some more of those short stories and fragmenty/sceney/vignettey things down on paper, but to no avail. I’ve got these planned alright- I’ve got two novellas and a full-blown novel planned- I just can’t be arsed to actually write them. Okay, that’s not strictly true. It’s more like I’m scared to write them as I don’t feel as though I could write them either as well as they seem to be as they are at the moment in my head, or as though I will be able to write enough and quickly enough. It usually takes me a long time to write prose. I can bang out a poem (on a good day) in about ten minutes; some of my best are written like this. But prose has to be teased out at the rate of about a line a day. I think I need a big kick. And some coffee. That usually helps.

Anyway. Back to the blog. I’ve got a not-so-new-by-now book haul to post next and a few other oddments that I’ve come across, so hopefully I can get these up soon. I also intend on making headway with my book reviews soon, as I’ve got books that I read at the start of 2014 to still review…

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