Graeme isn’t going to be International!Graeme anymore. I will miss Graeme. I’m not sure how to watch cricket without Graeme. Although I hope he might be international commentator Graeme sometime soon. Graeme helped me recover from the trauma of England and Geraint and Hoggy and Ashes 2006. He introduced me to the game ’South Africans being exactly the same as they are in my head’. He’s the only sportsperson to have ever made my ‘hero’ list, (man, that 154 still makes me cry). He ate Tacos and cheated on bleep tests and yelled and pointed and had captainly hair and was a frontline spinner and batted without functioning arms and humiliated Australians and coveted trophies and got half the runs.

Thank you, Graeme, for the inspiration and for giving me my love of cricket back.

a summary of Graeme’s scores )

And, just to remind us all, Here were my suggestions for what to do to observe National Graeme Day:

1) Hit things really far
2) Get angry at administrators and have to be restrained by a colleague
3) Clean a cricket bat with nail varnish whilst half naked
4) Encourage your pretty young work colleagues to text you when they miss you
5) Injure both your arms and still insist on doing something that requires the use of both arms.
6) Eat a taco really quickly before anyone else notices
7) Be much larger in real life than people expect
8) Tell the truth even when it pisses off important people
9) Be svelte
10) get a huge crowd of Australians to cheer at you
11) Be statuesque
12) Covet other people's chips
13) Complete the to do list you have pinned to your fridge
14) Look surprisingly good in pink
15) Cheat on your fitness test
16) Have captainly hair
17) Point at people until they move
18) Be much better and significantly less whiny than KP
19) Covet shiny things
20) Try to touch your nose with your tongue when you're bored

Everyday should be National Graeme Day from now on
Dubious Sexual Politics in TV Shows or Why The Almighty Johnsons is Okay with Me when Game of Thrones is a bit Problematic.

AKA: A guide to help [livejournal.com profile] indian_skimmer decide which shows I might get ‘funny’ about.

(please note, at one point in promising this post to [livejournal.com profile] indian_skimmer I confused the term ‘dubious sexual practices’ with ‘dubious sexual politics’. I would like to emphasise that I am firmly in favour of dubious sexual practices, particularly in relation to gods and/or men with swords. It is the dubious sexual politics I am addressing here.)

”Here )
Okay, so I completely forgot about that book meme and the moment's kind of gone now.

Anyway. This time next week I will be in Bratislava! Or at least I hope to be in Bratislava, I fly into Vienna and have to get the train across, so I may get horribly lost and have to setup home.

If I find my way to Bratislava I am then meeting up with BTCV and hiking off into the remote Tatra Mountains - from which I am assured I will see bear, wolves, and a special species of goat that we have to track for 10 days.

I'm currently packing, which is usually a problematic process anyway, but this time I'm having to weigh myself and then weigh myself with my rucksack on and then pick an item to remove from the pack until I can get it down to 10kg. Reduce underwear or books, that's my current dilemma.

Any suggestions from the well-travelled amongst you as to what to visit in Bratislava? (few extra days before and after the trek).
I've missed a few days, due to being lazy. So here's the catch up. I've also added a day on so that I'm on the same day as [livejournal.com profile] fringedweller. For the sake of order.

Day 10 - Book from your favourite author
I've mentioned Andre Brink already, author of my favourite book and some fantastic others as well. I've mentioned Dave Eggars, who I will buy the hard copy of anything he writes as soon as I can get to the shop. Neil Gaiman probably deserves a mention here as well, as his is a name I'll search in shop in the hope that something's magically appeared. However, I think this award will have to go to Terry Pratchett as I have been known to drive 30 miles out of my way to ensure I can get a new release on the day of release, and then finished it in the same day. I love Discworld, Young Discworld (and Nation whch doesn't fit anywhere but is superb), and have The Bromlied trilogy as a never-read back up in case there is ever a virus that kills off all writers and there are no books ever again. It's extremely hard to pick a favourite Discworld, although The Witches and The Watch are all at the top. However, I'd have to go with Jingo because basically it's Terry Pratchett does International Politics.

Day 11 - Book you once loved and now hate
A difficult one this, but I think I'd probably have to say Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. I loved this when I first read it (way before the flm and hype) but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone now.

Day 12 - Book that a friend recommended
"Life of Pi" by Yann Martell. My friend Angie gave me this and, whilst not a triumph of literary genius, it's a good read and one I'd read and give again. Mostly I picked it because of Angie. Angie is the only person I trade books & book recommendations with as we're utterly on the same wavelength. All my other friends are deeply disappointing to me in the book department (in terms of what they offer me and that I can't share my loves with them), but Angie loves whatever I send and I get incredibly excited whenever a book-shaped parcel arrives from her as I'm sure to love it.

Day 13 - Book that makes you laugh
Terry Pratchett gets a mention here, but he's been mentioned several times already (and will be again) so I'll give the floor to someone else. Mark Steel. I'll read anything he writes, and every single one of his books has made me laugh out loud in public at some point.

Day 14 - Book from your childhood
With the exception of the Famous Five books (which I hoovered up as soon as I could hold the books myself as my brothers had them all), I wasn't into a lot of the usual children's books. Mostly because girls in them were pretty pathetic and/or posh. (I know Georgie in Famous Five was posh, but she owned a dog and had an *island* and pretended she was a boy which is what I did, and so was therefore exempt from my already burgeoning class scorn).

The predominant books of my childhood weren't children's books at all, they were the Derek Tangye series. A 30+strong set of books detailing the real life story of a man and his wife and their escape from London to remote Cornwall. I devoured these books, used to dream of owning a little cottage on a cliff and a donkey and being snowed in in winter, and of course, owning the same series of cats that featured strongly in every story. I got to meet Derek Tangye too when I was 11. I went to the actual Minack and had tea with him (a lovely, inspiring sweet old man) and there's a picture of me stroking one of the Minack cats.

what could possibly be coming next? )
Avengers Assemble, some questions and comments )

By the way, my one had the post-credits scene - although it was only me and four other people who got to see it.
Day 9 - The first book you ever read
I don't know what this was. Being the youngest of four, no one really taught me to read, I just sort of picked it up. With my brothers being 10 and up when I would have been rooting around in their books, it was probably something utterly inappropriate. There were a lot of Brambley Hedge books and other anthropomorphised woodland animals in my early childhood and Tiptoes the Mischievious Kitten featured heavily, but the first book I remember loving and reading to myself repeatedly was "A Surprise for Dumpy" by Molly Brett
Spoliers. Seriously, if you haven't read it, this will totally spoil the ending )

next on the longest meme ever )
Day 8 - Book that reminds you of a certain place

Ulster: Conflict and Consent by Wilson, D Reminds me of Hut 6 - the damp, poorly heated portakabin on the far side of the sports field at school where I had a double A-level politics lesson on a Thursday afternoon with Mr Maloney. It even reminds me of the seat I sat in, on the right hand side of the table in between Charlotte and Petrova and opposite Colin and Duncan (for the record, Elliot, James and Tim sat on the third side of the square). Most of all, it reminds me of Mr Maloney asking if anyone knew what Sinn Fein meant and I whispered the answer and Charlotte announced to the group that I knew the answer ('Ourselves Alone'). It also reminds me of the following exchange:

Mr Maloney "How do you know that, Izzie?"
Me "I'm reading a book, A big, blue one"
Mr Maloney "What's this big, blue book called?"
Me "I have no idea."
Mr Maloney *laughs*

coming up )
Revisionist Day 6 - Book you can never read again
Okay, I know going back and altering this is setting a bad precedent, but predictably today I thought of two books I could never read again.

The Far Pavillions by M M Kaye - Boy, this was a hard read. I didn't hate it but I wouldn't put myself through it again. The only reason I got through it this time was for the reason outlined below.

Random Acts of Senseless Violence by Jack Womack - This is a georgeous, terrifying book and I love it, but the thing I love most about it is the thing that would prevent me from reading it again. A Cyperpunk-style story charting a teenaged girl's transition to adulthood in a dystopian near-future world, one of the main devices the author uses to chart change and the impact of the environment on her is the girl's own language - it's cleverly and subtley done and by the end I found myself thinking in that language. I don't think I'd get that impact second time around, so I wouldn't want to try.

Day 7 - Book that reminds you of someone

The Far Pavillions, by M M Kaye - This book reminds me of a wonderful work colleague, Sabar. A 57 year old devout muslim man with whom I formed an unlikely comedic partnership in my last job working for The Man. In my first week we got talking about books, Far Pavillions was his favourite and urged me to read it. Then he brought in his hardback copy to lend to me and it sat in my hallway, mocking me, for 13 months. Every few weeks Sabar would ask me how I was getting on and I would come up with ever more ridiculous excuses as to why I was failing or when I would get around to it. When I left last May, the office bought me a paperback copy (one of the excuses was that it was too heavy to read at the gym)signed by them all and I started reading that night.

coming up )
When it says "shelf", *which* shelf exactly is it talking about? Are there people out there who only have one shelf of books?
Day 6 - A book you can only read once (no matter you love or hate it)
This is a weird one. There are thousands of books I can't remember well enough to recall them right now, so obviously I wouldn't read them again, and there's loads that don't get chosen for a second read because something else does. There's also loads of factual books I wouldn't read again because the information is in my head now.

But, as a rule, if I'm not enjoying a book within 50 pages I don't waste my time reading it. I have never ever felt I have something to prove through reading so am not one of these people who will plough through books so they can say they've read it, and neither am I someone who will read anything and everything just for the sake of it. There are a few authors who, after I've wasted hours ploughing through something or other and felt utterly cheated, I won't touch again without some serious incentive (China Mieville deserves a special mention here).

I keep thinking something is going to leap out at me and I'll think 'oh, that's the one I won't ever touch again. But there's nothing. If I read it once it was worthy of passing the 50 pages test and so would probably pass it again, but they'll always be something new and exciting on the horizon which will likely bump it off the top of the pile.

There's a book I can't read without crying and so I rarely touch it (Goodbye Mog, by Judith Kerr. I'd like to say this is a childhood memory, but I was bought a copy when I was 24, the year my beloved Arthur died, and that's why I cry)

I'm open to suggestions. Tell me which books I should never read again. I may have to read them first, so that I can say 'I'm never reading that again'.

Coming next: )
Day 5 - A Book you can read again and again

I don't read a lot of books over and over again. I'm really not sure why. The big exception to this is any (and all) of Terry Pratchett's Discworld. These I read again and again and again, and listen to on my MP3. I get excited when I realise it's been six months since I last read them and can start again. Except, oddly the first two. These never feel quite like the world I know and love (although they're still fantastic tales), I suspect it's because they don't contain The Witches or The Watch.

Other than Discworld, An Act of Terror (as previously mentioned) could be included here, but in the interests of variety I'll also say "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggars. (This was a contender for favourite book as well). This is such a well-written and meandering memoir that it never fees old. I could read it again and again because it's the writing itself rather than the story I love. Not that I don't love the story - it's a history of family, survival, responsibility and growing older - so actually story is very much the wrong word. This is often the problem other people have with it, but characterisation is always more important to me than plot in books. HBWSG is chock full of characterisation and, because it's about life in general, there's very little semblance of plot.

I suppose I could also include the few books I dip in and out of, not because the stories are great, or because I love the writing, but because they have meaning in some other way. They're my 'soul books' I guess, and it's usually just passages I read and reread, whether for inspiration, affirmation, or general 'bucking up'. Terry Pratchett, Andre Brink and Dave Eggars' books also fall into this lot as well, but as for the others:

"Dear Stephen" - Anne Downey
"Jonathan Livingstone Seagull" - Richard Bach
"The Little Prince" - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
"Man's Search for Meaning" - Viktor Frankel

Okay, for someone who says they don't reread books, that's quite a lot.

Coming next:
Day 6 - A book you can only read once (no matter you love or hate it)
Day 7 - Book that reminds you of someone
Day 8 - Book that reminds you of a certain place
Day 9 - The first book you ever read
Day 10 - Book from your favourite author
Day 11 - Book you once loved and now hate
Day 12 - Book that a friend recommended
Day 13 - Book that makes you laugh
Day 14 - Book from your childhood
Day 15 - 4th book from the left on your shelf
Day 16 - 9th book from the right on your shelf
Day 17 - Close your eyes and get any book from your shelf
Day 18 - Book with the most beautiful cover
Day 19 - Book that you never wanted to read
Day 20 - Book that you read at school
Day 21 - Most stupid book you read at school
Day 22 - Book on your shelf with the most pages
Day 23 - Book on your shelf with the least pages
Day 24 - Book that nobody would expect you read/loved it
Day 25 - A book where the main character is almost like you
Day 26 - Book you would read to your children
Day 27 - A book where the main character is your idol
Day 28 - Thank God this book was made into a movie
Day 29 - Darn, why did they make this book into a movie?
Day 30 - First erotic book you ever read
Day 31 - Book series you are collecting
Day 4 - Book you hate

Wuthering Heights, and pretty much any other period drama-type, tbh. On the first day of a A-Level English I was handed this book. I switched to biology that break time and never looked back.

A special mention also has to go to that BookAboutTheRabbitsThatShallNotBeNamed. An awful, awful book, but trumped by the awful, terrible, traumatising film, so the book can't take the blame.

Coming next:
Day 5 - A Book you can read again and again
Day 6 - A book you can only read once (no matter you love or hate it)
Day 7 - Book that reminds you of someone
Day 8 - Book that reminds you of a certain place
Day 9 - The first book you ever read
Day 10 - Book from your favourite author
Day 11 - Book you once loved and now hate
Day 12 - Book that a friend recommended
Day 13 - Book that makes you laugh
Day 14 - Book from your childhood
Day 15 - 4th book from the left on your shelf
Day 16 - 9th book from the right on your shelf
Day 17 - Close your eyes and get any book from your shelf
Day 18 - Book with the most beautiful cover
Day 19 - Book that you never wanted to read
Day 20 - Book that you read at school
Day 21 - Most stupid book you read at school
Day 22 - Book on your shelf with the most pages
Day 23 - Book on your shelf with the least pages
Day 24 - Book that nobody would expect you read/loved it
Day 25 - A book where the main character is almost like you
Day 26 - Book you would read to your children
Day 27 - A book where the main character is your idol
Day 28 - Thank God this book was made into a movie
Day 29 - Darn, why did they make this book into a movie?
Day 30 - First erotic book you ever read
Day 31 - Book series you are collecting
Day 3 - Your favourite book

An Act of Terror by Andre Brink. I have quotes from this book in my wallet. It's a gorgeous political thriller/self discovery story set in apartheid South Africa, told from the perspective of different characters. Not sure a single person I've recommended it to has made it to the end, but I don't care. I did. "Ontogenesis recapitulates phelogenesis".

Coming next:
Day 4 - Book you hate
Day 5 - A Book you can read again and again
Day 6 - A book you can only read once (no matter you love or hate it)
Day 7 - Book that reminds you of someone
Day 8 - Book that reminds you of a certain place
Day 9 - The first book you ever read
Day 10 - Book from your favourite author
Day 11 - Book you once loved and now hate
Day 12 - Book that a friend recommended
Day 13 - Book that makes you laugh
Day 14 - Book from your childhood
Day 15 - 4th book from the left on your shelf
Day 16 - 9th book from the right on your shelf
Day 17 - Close your eyes and get any book from your shelf
Day 18 - Book with the most beautiful cover
Day 19 - Book that you never wanted to read
Day 20 - Book that you read at school
Day 21 - Most stupid book you read at school
Day 22 - Book on your shelf with the most pages
Day 23 - Book on your shelf with the least pages
Day 24 - Book that nobody would expect you read/loved it
Day 25 - A book where the main character is almost like you
Day 26 - Book you would read to your children
Day 27 - A book where the main character is your idol
Day 28 - Thank God this book was made into a movie
Day 29 - Darn, why did they make this book into a movie?
Day 30 - First erotic book you ever read
Day 31 - Book series you are collecting
I'm doing this because giving up on Day Two would be lazy. However, I'm having a minor breakdown owing to two weeks of work being eaten by the computer

Day 2 - The book you want to read next

Storm of Swords - Part Two - Blood & Gold. Once I'm reading a series I have to finish the series

Next - unless I throw my computer out of the window

Day 3 - Your favourite book
Day 4 - Book you hate
Day 5 - A Book you can read again and again
Day 6 - A book you can only read once (no matter you love or hate it)
Day 7 - Book that reminds you of someone
Day 8 - Book that reminds you of a certain place
Day 9 - The first book you ever read
Day 10 - Book from your favourite author
Day 11 - Book you once loved and now hate
Day 12 - Book that a friend recommended
Day 13 - Book that makes you laugh
Day 14 - Book from your childhood
Day 15 - 4th book from the left on your shelf
Day 16 - 9th book from the right on your shelf
Day 17 - Close your eyes and get any book from your shelf
Day 18 - Book with the most beautiful cover
Day 19 - Book that you never wanted to read
Day 20 - Book that you read at school
Day 21 - Most stupid book you read at school
Day 22 - Book on your shelf with the most pages
Day 23 - Book on your shelf with the least pages
Day 24 - Book that nobody would expect you read/loved it
Day 25 - A book where the main character is almost like you
Day 26 - Book you would read to your children
Day 27 - A book where the main character is your idol
Day 28 - Thank God this book was made into a movie
Day 29 - Darn, why did they make this book into a movie?
Day 30 - First erotic book you ever read
Day 31 - Book series you are collecting
Day 1 - the book you're reading now

I'm nearly at the end of A Storm of Swords: Part 1 Steel & Snow. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] fringedweller,a two for one offer in a service station on my way on holiday, and a week with nothing to do but read and I've made enough headway into Game of Thrones to be *incredibly* pissed off if the author dies before he's finished. (Yes, [livejournal.com profile] indian_skimmer you did warn me). I'm pretty fussy with sci-fi/fantasy books (as with books generally) so tend to stick to tried and tested authors. The show probably helped me get far enough in to care, and the books have helped me look past the gratuitous nakedness and dubious sex of the show.

I'm also part way through 'A Street Cat Named Bob" as part of my ongoing committment to managing to only get caught in conversation with attractive men at the gym when I'm reading an embarrasing cat book, not something cool or intellectual. John Ronson's 'What I do' is my default 'in my bag' book atm.

Coming up:


Day 2 - The book you want to read next
Day 3 - Your favourite book
Day 4 - Book you hate
Day 5 - A Book you can read again and again
Day 6 - A book you can only read once (no matter you love or hate it)
Day 7 - Book that reminds you of someone
Day 8 - Book that reminds you of a certain place
Day 9 - The first book you ever read
Day 10 - Book from your favourite author
Day 11 - Book you once loved and now hate
Day 12 - Book that a friend recommended
Day 13 - Book that makes you laugh
Day 14 - Book from your childhood
Day 15 - 4th book from the left on your shelf
Day 16 - 9th book from the right on your shelf
Day 17 - Close your eyes and get any book from your shelf
Day 18 - Book with the most beautiful cover
Day 19 - Book that you never wanted to read
Day 20 - Book that you read at school
Day 21 - Most stupid book you read at school
Day 22 - Book on your shelf with the most pages
Day 23 - Book on your shelf with the least pages
Day 24 - Book that nobody would expect you read/loved it
Day 25 - A book where the main character is almost like you
Day 26 - Book you would read to your children
Day 27 - A book where the main character is your idol
Day 28 - Thank God this book was made into a movie
Day 29 - Darn, why did they make this book into a movie?
Day 30 - First erotic book you ever read
Day 31 - Book series you are collecting
Meme gakked from [livejournal.com profile] fringedweller & [livejournal.com profile] sweet_exile

Comment to this post, and I will list seven things I want you to talk about. They might make sense or they might be totally random.Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself.
questions, questions )

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