Blog Links Just some of the great blogs I keep stumbling on. Go for an explore, and if you see any really good ones, let me know...
- the hottest blogger I know. - I hate knitting. However, I love this blog. Who'd have thought? - If you ask me, it's perpetual brilliance! - 'nuff said. Inspired - inspiring.
- ...into light. Xenouveau - Her from Sadisticland. All Geek To Me - Fun from Scout Finch.
Elven Sarah - Witty and weird, a bit like me (but witty). Sedgefield - A nice blog, which may have died from meme deficiency... - A great lady had a great blog. Hopefully it returns...
superphase - A stick hero for the masses...
Sadly, we have been given the cold Shoulder. - a great blog from the continent, nice and warm there. - Not indulgent any more.
She Speaks - The star-crossed lover is now silent.
Organic Feminism - A tremendous blog. Even though she calls me Scoots *shudder*
You can no longer get your soup fix from souplover.
It's Bonfire Night tomorrow. For the uninitiated, Bonfire Night is the informal name for Guy Fawkes' Night, when the British traditionally celebrate the foiling of a terrorist bombing by setting things on fire.
I remember the old days. We'd eat toffee apples and have "Penny for the Guy", a form of sanctioned begging, where kids would construct a dummy using old clothes, which was intended tobe an effigy of Guy Fawkes, the Lee Harvey Oswald of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. They'd then drag it around door to door collecting money. Once the local had been fleeced enough, a large bonfire was built, and the effigy was thrown atop it. This was accompanied by tremendous fireworks, which apparently represented the gunpowder-fuelled catastrophe that had narrowly been avoided. We'd occasionally have fireworks in the back garden, but they always tended to be relatively rubbish; brightly coloured paper affairs which squeaked a bit once they were ignited. The very best firework displays used to be held in the grounds of the cricket club, organised by the local scouts, and there's be an enormous bonfire, twenty feet tall. My dad used to help on the barbecue, and my mum on the drinks stall.
Nowadays things are different. It seems that the increasingly draconian attitudes towards fireworks have been nothing short of disastrous. You used to be able to buy fireworks for a month before November 5th, now you're allegedly limited to a week before. Furthermore, there's now an age limit, so you have to be 18 or over to buy recreational explosives. Incidentally, it's interesting that toys resembling guns are now illegal, whereas bombs that look like toys are available in newsagents. All week I've been barely able to help myself think because there only seems to be one sort of firework available now, and that's the banger. A series of loud bangs, with little in the way of light emission, and it puzzles me that everyone seems to love them. There have been so many over the past week that I keep wondering whether I've been transported to Basra in my sleep.
Every year it's worse. I watched the news on All Hallows Eve, and there was a news item about someone in fancy dress who had thrown a box of lit fireworks into a newsagent, just a couple of miles from where I'm now writing this. A baby was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation. Every year I threaten to tape up my letterbox, in case someone sticks a firework through on Halloween (or the new trend in Mischief Night now taking hold in the UK), and I know that the day I have to do that is fast approaching.
Yesterday was Hospital Day. Not only did I have the follow-up appointment at Thoracic medicine, but it was my first meeting with the lower limb specialist at Orthopaedics. Luckily I'd taken some means of entertaining myself, as I ended up spending a lot of time sitting around waiting for one thing or another. First of all was Orthopaedics, and I almost expected the half hour delay. What I didn't expect was the consultant to be personable, professional and friendly. A friend who works in a hospital told me that Orthopaedic Surgeons are like carpenters, just mending physical stuff, and they aren't generally blessed with social skills. No offence to carpenters, you understand. Certainly, my previous experience of orthopaedics bore out this theory. However, this chap was great. I had a further wait while they fished out my MR scan results from a drawer somewhere, but I finally got to see them, the little mini-x-rays which showed all the bits and blobs floating around the general knee area. He read the notes, consulted the X-rays and MRI, and recommended an arthroscopy, exactly the opposite of the last guy's advice. He said, "The thing is, without looking inside, it's difficult to know exactly what's causing the problems. It may be that the arthroscopy won't show what's wrong, or show that there's not much I can do, but at least you'll know." Ah, music to my ears. This was precisely why I'd been pressing for one in the first place. He arranged the arthroscopy for the 19th November, and I went in for pre-assessment. Everything was fine, although I am shorter and fatter than I remember. The whole thing took about an hour and a half. Then the thoracic medicine appointment. This took as long, but only because there was an interminable wait. Eventually I went in, did a peak flow test, and left. I have another checkup in January. Job done.
Working Title Speaking of jobs, I still don't have one, but that's hardly news. However, I have been keeping busy trying to keep my hand in. We shot the trailer for the feature film, and I put it together for comments, uploading it to a private youtube account. The director submitted it to the world, against my wishes, so I took the account details off him, much as you would a sticky bun from a naughty child. I've since submitted a newer version, which he hasn't sent out, and which needs some better music on. Hopefully I can sort that out tomorrow.
I should also have a rough edit of the second music video done by then. We shot it last weekend, and it was a complete shambles, as I expected. I've described the composer/producer as a force of nature, and as such, it's extremely difficult to harness his raw energy without gargantuan effort. Add to that the need to get everything we needed shot in time, and it was chaos. We got most of it done, and hopefully we'll have enough for a good video, but I dunno.
If I get time, I'll also throw together a rough edit of the feature film currently languishing on my external hard drive. I feel quite bad that it's been floating around for the best part of a year, but the first half of that was out of my hands. The other half, I have no excuse for. Unless I blame my knee injury.
It's the start of NaNoWriMo today, which means I have a month to write a novel, or at least 50,000 words of one. I thought of doing it unofficially, and doing the feature adaptation instead, but I'm not sure now. Whatever I can get down on paper will be enough. Already I'm most of a day behind.
Yeah, sorry. Whatever. I shan't apologise for the woeful pun used at the top of this post. It is rubbish, but it raised a chuckle when I thought of it. On the other hand, I will apologise for my current grumpy state. I'm feeling a bit bereft, a bit frustrated, and slightly more neurotic than normal. I feel a little paranoid, like people are avoiding me. I know that this isn't at all true, but I can't escape the feeling, and the frustration at feeling like this for no good reason is the cause of my current funk. I've taken to wondering whether I'm suffering from something similar to Veronica Cartwright's character in The Witches Of Eastwick, whose bone marrow gets into her bloodstream and affects her psychologically. Perhaps I've gone mad, stir crazy from being sealed within these four walls, day in, day out. Perhaps the frustration is mainly because of my locking knee. Sometimes I bend my leg and can't physically re-straighten it, and this was one of the reasons I had to stop the physio. It's getting worse now; up to now it has locked every so often, and changing position has fixed it, but this afternoon it locked for ten minutes. Who knows the cause of my sardonic state, but hopefully I'll feel a whole lot better after the operation. In the mean time, sorry. And get knotted, gitface! Or something.
At the recommendation of the locum, I called the orthopaedics department to see whether I can see the chief consultant, who I've only seen once, back in April.
"Hello," I said. "I have an appointment on the 1st with Mr Mengeles. Is he in that day?" The receptionist paused for a while. "Ah, no, he's on a study day that day." I sighed. "well, it's important I speak to him, as things are getting pretty bad with my knee now."
There was a portentious pause.
"Why," she asked. "Is there something wrong with your knee too?" When I asked what she meant, she informed me that Mr. Mengeles is actually an upper limb specialist. There are three lower limb specialists, but I haven't encountered any of them.
I very nearly laughed.
So, I left a message with the locum, and called the Patient Advice Liaison Service. PALS. Bear in mind that when I originally broke the damned thing, it was at their request that I booked the X-Ray through my GP, which meant a needless 2 week delay, which further complicated things.
The woman there listened to my tale of woe, and promised to get back to me with advice on what to do.
So, she called back today, and said, "when you get to your appointment, you should ask to see Mr Mengeles."
"But, I was told he wasn't in that day," I replied.
"Oh, she said. "I'll call you back."
I've also had a letter through today from the GP's surgery, asking me to call and make an appointment about a letter they've received from the consultant.
I don't know how much more of this I can take, but given the human's capacity for adaptation, I suspect it's a lot. Definitely a lot more than none, which is how much more I want to take.
Currently watching: Talk Radio Staring Eric Bogosian
I received a rather bulky envelope through the post yesterday. The frank indicated that it had come from the University. I wasn't expecting anything, so I opened it cautiously. Although it's not likely anyone there would try to kill me, you can never be too careful.
Inside was another envelope, also addressed to me, but at the University's address; this one had come from the Cornerhouse in Manchester. I frowned, confused, and tore it open.
Confirmation of screening in exposures UK Student Film Festival. Drama Competitive Programme "Milky Thursday"
Thanks for your entry to this year's exposures festival which will be held at Cornerhouse, Manchester on 3rd - 6th December 2007. The Experimental selection has now been made, and we're delighted to say your film has been chosen from the many hundreds to be screened at this December's festival.
However we need the following from you by 21st Sept..."
Wow, that's great! At last, some critical recognition for my work!
Hang on, experimental? I made an action film, didn't I? OK, it had dairy products and pies instead of guns and bombs, but that isn't very experimental, surely? Oh, well.
Hang on, the 21st September? That's last week!
Sure enough, the letter had been posted to the university on 18th, and forwarded on to me on the 25th. I called the Cornerhouse and they said, "It's OK, you have until the 28th." "That's tomorrow," I replied. "Oh, yes," they conceded.
So I rushed around, gathering together the stuff they need and managed to get it to them today. Thank goodness.
I was even more surprised this morning when I checked my emails and found out that I've won a Bourne Identity/Supremacy DVD Box set just by registering on the Bourne Stunt Simulator site. Nice.
Still, every silver lining needs a cloud.
My knee is still causing me anguish. I visited the consultant this week, who was dismissive about an arthroscopy. I insisted that I should have one to find out what's actually wrong, but because I have an appointment with Thoracic Medicine on Monday, I have to wait until the 1st of November for them to even set a date for it. At least the new locum at my surgery has written me a new sick note for two months. Incidentally, my actual doctor, who I've never met, has been suspended pending an investigation into something or other. It doesn't affect me, as I've never even seen the man, but I suspect it's because he never turns up...
Also, it's a year to the day since Spartacus died. I miss him, but I just think about the good times now; the all-night drinking sessions, the philosophical discussions, the licking between his legs.
I should point out that I used to do the first two, and he used to do the last one.
I stuck my head out of the kitchen door for a little fresh air last night. It was a cool evening, with stars twinkling between the clouds. It was quiet as usual - my house has a back yard whose gate opens onto an alley overlooked by an old factory. Ten minutes later I did the same to be greeted by a raging inferno. The yard of number 10, the house two doors down, was ablaze, and flames stretched over ten feet into the air. I called the fire brigade and they arrived in a few minutes, battling the blaze. In the meantime I introduced myself to my next-door neighbour from number 18 and we discussed the unwelcome excitement. Apparently 10 is empty, and the problem seems to be with 8, whose fence was burning merrily. She told me that the occupants are a bunch of smackheads who have been resisting court eviction notices, and that this could well have been a vigilante attack. As I watched the firemen drag a fire-chewed sofa into the alley, I found this terrifying. I've lived here for three months and kept pretty much to myself. Who's to say that I won't inadvertently incur the wrath of the same people who torched the back yard? I don't know who's worse - the smackheads or the vigilante chavs. It then occurred to me that of all the places I've lived over the last twelve years, deliberate fires have been started within 50 feet of all but one. That's more terrifying.
I've been pretty busy since the last post, after all, it's been a few months. Apologies to those who still pay attention, and I'll attempt to rectify matters.
I still can't walk properly on my knee, and as such it's one of the dominating influences in my life at the moment. I've been for numerous physio sessions, however, and my knee is getting stronger again. I had an interesting incident the other week, where I over-exerted myself in the session. For whatever reason, I hadn't eaten beforehand, and I had a whitey after the rowing machine. I sat down for a minute with the physio, and next thing I know there are half a dozen of them around me, and I'm lying on my side. I was unconscious for a minute, and gave them quite a scare. Oops. I got a free mini-muffin out of it though. It's been fine since then, except that my leg's getting more painful. Since the accident, my knee's clicked when I've bent or straightened it. Recently, however, it's been clicking three times, each one of them quite painful. I've also been told that the break is inconsequential, and the main injury is a bruised kneecap (the underside of the bone is bruised). Stairs elude me still, and at this rate it could be another couple of months until I have reasonable use of my leg. I console myself with the fact that my toes never turned black.
I managed to get my film finished, and submitted it to the tutors for marking. Anyway, I got my results, and I'm now the proud owner of a 2:1 honours degree! The awards ceremony was long and fairly tedious, and as I was the third person up, the crowd wasn't warmed up. I shook hands with the Dean, or whoever, and completely forgot to smile for the official photographer. I shudder to think how that will come out. On the bright side, I feel an enormous sense of achievement. I've finally proved to myself that I'm capable.
I was living at the Halls of Residence after Sparti died, and my plan was to stay there over Summer while I sorted myself out. Unfortunately the University invited a delegation of Iranians over, and subsequently only released a limited amount of summer accommodation. The upshot was, I had two weeks to find somewhere to live and move into it. I looked around and thought I might try finding a one bedroom flat, but they were all out of my price range. In the end, though, I found a two bedroom house in Bolton, and I'm sharing it with a student called Alan, partly because he reminds me scarily of a very young Alan Partridge.
I don't have any. Because of my knee I'm claiming incapacity benefit. Unfortunately I'm ineligible due to my recent student status, so I'm on income support and housing benefit. When they eventually deign to pay it.So, I'm not able to just go out and get a job to tide me over, so I've been using my time furthering my experience.
I've been co-writing an action feature film, which I have been asked to be joint Director of Photography for.
I'm also writing the treatment and novelisation for that. Well, I'll see how it goes, anyway.
I've been asked to edit a feature film, and it's finally all captured, so I can start cutting it.
I'm editing a music video for a really good music producer (think Manchester Ronnie Spector), and there's a directing job on the cards there.
I have my fingers in a few pies, and hopefully one of them's cherry. Like Dale Cooper likes.
I split up with Gaynor. I came to the realisation that she didn't really respect me, and I finished it just before my birthday. On my birthday I visited Blackpool, and met up with a new friend there, Mel. Things went so well that we were an item by the following day. She's easy-going, mature, and as much of a geek as I am. We're matched in so many ways it's almost scary at times. It's the best relationship I've been in to date. I'm happy.
In summary, things are looking up. I'm in a good place, and I can see possibilities in the future.
I'm concentrating on my film to the exclusion of everything else at the moment. I've updated Lack of Direction with latest developments, and will continue to do so until I get bored of the whole thing. Or finish it.
I went away for the weekend, and sat in the sunshine finishing off essays. I ended up with a sunburnt ear, which just demonstrates how global warming is a bad thing. I also slipped on a front doorstep whilst not wearing shoes, and set back the recovery of my knee a few days. On the plus side, I'm walking around quite well now, and I have an MRI scan due the week after the film is in the can.
Much as my blog occasionally grinds to a halt, so have I. I'm sitting in bed, my mind wandering. It might as well, as it's the only chance I have of going anywhere at the moment. I'm still unable to put any weight on my leg without my knee howling in protest, and it has been nearly three weeks since the accident. It is now at the stage where I ate a pot noodle and a slice of unbuttered bread for tea because I couldn't face the arduous task of making a meal. The longer I spend in this tiny little room, the more disconnected I get from the world outside. If such a world even exists any more. I doubt the veracity of my senses as much as I doubt my ability to walk on this shattered knee. I should consider myself fortunate that I am still able to move myself around, and I should think of the constant pain in my palms as evidence that I am alive, but I'm just sick to death of the whole thing.
I slipped on a piece of paper on Saturday night. I had been to see Nine Inch Nails at the Ice Arena in Nottingham, and I was walking to a club afterwards, when a stray flyer (the glossy kind) found itself under my foot. I slipped on it, and when I put my leg out to re-balance, I felt a fart bubble of pain in my knee, and my leg turned completely into jam. I hopped into a taxi, and hopped back to the hotel. The next day I hopped to the train station. This has happened once or twice before, but never has it been so painful, nor has it lasted so long. I got a pair of crutches and a tubigrip from the hospital, and I have a scan (X-Ray or MRI) to look forward to once the swelling has gone down. In the meantime I'm like an anonymous cross between L.B. Jeffries (Rear Window) and Mr. Dietrichson (Double Indemnity) - trapped in a tiny room with no way of getting a sandwich from the kitchen unless I carry it in my mouth like a demented labrador (how many sane labradors would carry a sandwich in their mouths without just eating it?).
On the bright side, I have a shiny pair of crutches, and a sick note from the doctor at the hospital.