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Search tags: Stuff-you-don\'t-need-to-know-about-my-life
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text 2014-09-24 10:52
2 reasons I haven't been on Booklikes recently

1) My father, bless his little cotton socks, was sorting out his various drugs into his pill box. Because he has stubby man-fingers, he finds it easier to pop the pills out of the blister pack onto the table then drop them into the different sections of the pill box. Because he was refiling the whole box, he'd emptied that days tablets onto a pile on the table.


He became aware, at some point during the process, that his cup of tea was almost finished and realised it would be wise to take his tablets before it was.


12 Venlafaxine later I learned that if you have a possible medical crises, it's better not to do so within five minutes either side of 9am because the out-of-hours services closes early, and the GP opens late.


He's fine, but because he has a heart condition I had to spend most of the day taking him for ECGs and generally not doing any of the things I intended to do.


2) My Great-Auntie, bless her little cotton socks, died. This was a relief. She was old and she'd been going downhill in the non-specific way of the very old for a long time - although there are words to be had with her GP who was called out to see her and declared her fine; 24 hours later the hospital said she had liver cancer and would be unlikely to survive the weekend. 


She lived in the UK, so my parents had to go over to organise the paperwork, sort out her belongings etc which means that instead of spending my free time book blogging etc I spent my free time doing the research regarding funerals, probate, etc, which they can't do because they have limited internet access. It turns out funerals are ridiculously expensive, but you are legally allowed to dig the hole in the graveyard yourself. Don't say I never teach you anything.




So, that's where I've been. Hope everybody's lives are marvellous.

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text 2014-06-10 12:04
Change: it does you good.

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but last year was a year of unbelievable stress for me. 


Although I felt okay and as in control as anybody could, the stress took it out on me in other ways. I lost weight (which is not a bad thing, but as a person with a history of disordered eating I try to avoid seeing the acquisition of thinness as a positive and life affirming quality) and I lost hair. Lots and lots of hair. 


So, I had to have it cut. I literally went into my hairdresser and told him to do what he needed to. He needed to take it from my shoulder blades to my jaw. 


I did feel sad, and angry. Partly because I feel that I'm never going to be able to grow it to that length again. Partly because I didn't know if my hair was going to stop falling out (it did; harrumble!). Partly because I was concerned about what was going to happen when/if it did begin to regrow. Partly because it wasn't my choice and I wasn't able to summon the enthusiasm to *make* a choice. Partly because I know short hair looks better on me than long hair due to the perennial messiness which inhabits every fibre of my being and so getting complimented had this odd mixture of "yay! I'm smexy!" and "but. this. wasn't. what. I. wanted."


Tomorrow, I'm going to the hairdresser, and I'm going to have a dramatic change. Right now my hair is a layered bob thing about an inch above my shoulders. I haven't decided *exactly* what's happening (although I have spent a few helpful minutes photoshopping other people's hair onto my head) but I'm liking some of these modern pixie cuts so many of the kids seem to have these days. I don't rule out cropping it very short (I've done it before a couple of times and swore I never would again because it's such a hassle to grow out).


It's going to be exciting and I'm feeling good about it. If it all goes horribly wrong, I have a hat.







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review 2013-10-16 14:52
Sometimes sequals are better off not written: Every Seventh Wave by Daniel Glattauer
Every Seventh Wave - Daniel Glattauer,Jamie Bulloch,Katharina Bielenberg

(Every Seventh Wave is a sequal to Love Virtually, so this review contains spoilers for that book which is incidentally very good and which I'd probably give four stars to).


I've read an email affair. I have what I believe the kids refer to as "Mad Skillz". I was going to explain more about that but I can't do so in a short way, so just take it from me that I know what a casual email which turns into something more reads like in real life. It's quite a lot like Love Virtually, which is really good.


I first heard the radio play version which stars David Tennant and the eminently watchable/listenable to Emilia Fox (although it's also fair to mention I've never seen/heard Tennant in a bad performance either. If you doubt, three words: Kafka the Musical.) (That's not to say Tennant's never *given* a bad performance, it's just that he's hidden it from me, which gets me to wondering what else he's hidden from me. I believe I've already mentioned my Mad Skillz, Tennant: think on.) 


If I had a criticism of the radio play, it was that it felt rushed, which the book does not. I've read it twice, and the second time - with the benefit of Meatworld Knowledge - I was especially struck by how well it's done. It's written as a series of email exchanges beginning when Emmi Rothner, attempting to cancel a magazine subscription, mistypes the email address and sends her increasing frustrated missives to Leo Lieke. They strike up a friendship and the title of the book gives a heads up for where it goes after that.


The pacing of Love Virtually is done really well. The characters are well rounded; Emmi in particular is quite unpleasant. She is demanding, self-centred, vain, and spoiled, but, crucially, she is very readable. Then there is the ending: it was perfect. Leo is leaving for Boston and Emmi is supposed to be going round to his flat so they can meet face to face before he goes, just once, only she doesn't and when she writes to Leo to explain why, all she gets is the autoresponder telling her the email address no longer exists.


So I was disappointed to find out there was a sequel. Emmi and Leo were not epic star-crossed lovers. One of the nice things about having a book which is purely email exchanges is that it allows the reader to have their own opinion, and mine is that they were selfish, stupid fantasists who got carried away with themselves and needed to think about the people they were hurting. Every Seventh Wave is a sequel for people who were rooting for Emmi and Leo, and by god is it tedious. 


What was well done in Love Virtually is boring, and repetitive here. There is a glimmer of something better at times, but for much of it there are no outside forces, no real life world forcing itself in. This book begins with Emmi's exchanging messages with Leo's autoresponder, months after he's left for Boston, but what's missing is the hole in Emmi's life which leads her to still sit there sending messages to this guy 9 months after he left. The hole was there in Love Virtually, she could be frivolous Emmi, saying what she thought without worrying about it, but here it feels convenient, and that's a good summation of the book. Stuff happens, but it's not compelling and it's reported by the characters, rather than the more natural exchanges of Love Virtually. 


Crucially, I don't know what Emmi and Leo see in each other. More than once I found myself wondering why one or the other of them didn't tell the other to take a running jump. I could forgive if it was entertainingly bitchy, or even just human, but it's dull and it's boring, and in the end I just didn't care.


In brief, it feels like it was written because the first was such a big success, and that's a shame.


If you were the type of person desperate to find out what happened next with Leo and Emmi, you'd probably like it, but otherwise let Love Virtually stand alone. I found the story a great disappointment, so I'm going to give it one and a half stars.




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review 2012-04-11 00:00
The Meaning of Life . . . and Other Stuff (Amelia Rules)
Amelia Rules! Volume 7: The Meaning of Life... and Other Stuff - Jimmy Gownley A solid entry in the Amelia Rules series, but a definite let-down from earlier volumes, and it does not stand on its own--you need to have read the previous books for this one to make sense.
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review 2004-01-01 00:00
Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life: How to Use Feng Shui to Get Love, Money, Respect and Happiness - Karen Rauch Carter Despite the rather flip title, this fantastic book is a serious but very readable introduction to feng shui. Designed to be used immediately, it offers fantastic suggestions for getting started and inexpensive ways to get your whole house in alignment -- especially if your home is part of an apartment building, etc. I can't recommend this book enough -- it's my go-to guide for feng shui and I'm always referring to it!
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