Sunday, 31 May 2009

Sorted my blogroll! Hooray!!

As you can now see, I managed to sort it ... so all you lovely peeps are now listed for all to see ... the new Bloggers features are really rather good (and useful for techno-dunces like me).


I am currently addicted to Bejewelled. It's all my Mum's fault. When I went up to stay with her in York a couple of months back she had the game on her computer and kept playing it during free moments. I was actually supposed to be doing some marking (yes I had to take work with me even though I was on frickin' holiday...) but sitting at her computer it was just too tempting and I kept succumbing to the odd game. Or two. Or three...I got back home and went on a website that sold a downloadable version of the game and promptly purchased it - well Version 2 that is. It's very similar to Tetris, simple but as I say, addictive. Good for playing in those inbetween moments. And I love the cheesey "new age" synth music, it's actually kind of soothing and calming. The only problem is, when I go to bed, I can see these multi-coloured diamond things, falling out of the sky...

Now, my lovelies. What I really want to know is, what precisely are YOU addicted to?

Mmmm, not sure if it was such a good idea to ask that...

But I still want you to tell. 'Fess up!!

Cheeser's Choice: Freemasons and Sophie Ellis-Bextor

A fabulous track that I just had to post - and bound to be a massive hit. Okay, so Newplanet and Alan posted this on their blogs first and I've pilfered it from them - hope you don't mind, boys. Of course I'm just duplicating your own excellent tastes.

The Freemasons are one of my favourite DJ / dance combos and make classy and stylish dance music. I absolutely adore their Shakedown double CD and am always listening to it down the gym or sticking it on the stereo at home and dancing round the lounge - their music is the ultimate motivator. What's more, they've done a sterling job of remixing other people's sometimes bland songs and making them into dancefloor extravaganzas e.g. Kelly Rowland, Beyonce ... and now they've teamed up with haughty pop goddess, Sophie Ellis Bextor to produce this pop gem (admittedly a newbie tune as opposed to the reworkings of other people's stuff they've sometimes produced). Sophie's an interesting proposition. She has a highly distinctive, sultry, posh voice that's instantly recognisable. She's got sticky-out ears that don't detract from her obvious beauty. And her Mummy is Janet Ellis (which lead to my own highly original version of the lyrics from "Take Me Home": "Pin my ears, pin my ears /My mother was a presenter on Blue Peter." Genius eh?) In my view Soph's singles have tended to be more memorable than her album tracks - and tend more towards dance/disco whereas the rest of her output has been more "indified". She definitely functions better as disco diva than indie chick, I the same way as Kylie's foray into the world of guitar-infused stuff didn't entirely convince, brave experiment though it was. Anyhow, without further ado, enjoy!!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

New beginnings....mumba sera....

A big, big BIG HELLOOOOOOOOO to you, my lovely readers!!! Yes. It really is ME. After many weird, wacky and wonderful wanderings through the furthest reaches of time and space, I have decided to revisit the planet Bloggersphere and return to the place where (I hope you will agree) I rightly belong. I'm back, BACK, BACK!!! (Mmm methinks I really must change that catchphrase ... it's getting distinctly over-used. Look give me time, darlings, I'm just warming up again...)

First off, a couple of obvious things. 1) I nicked the title of this my "post redux" (or should that be "redux post"? God knows) from Bucks Fizz, no less. A higher accolade could not be paid (gosh, it rhymes...) 2) You may have noticed that this is an entirely BRAND NEW BLOG!! Yes, as befits my return, I decided I may as well begin with a new blog too. New title, new colours, new style, new look! However you'll be relieved to hear that I'VE not changed all that much (besides now hitting the big 4-0 since I last wrote properly - YIKES - but that's another story...) If any of you want to visit my old blog, you're more than welcome and you can access it here. One problem I seem to have hit on with starting a new blog is I can't work out yet how to list all of my other favourite blogs (that means most of you out there like Steve and Amanda etc etc) on my sidebar. Damn it...Also the changes I've made to my profile info seem to have "infiltrated" my old blog too - mmm. So much for doing a certificate in Web Design, all that acquired knowledge seems to have trickled away...Anyway, I shall hopefully master all of these things, given time.

More to the point, it feels great to be back. I really can't quite believe it, to be honest. That I'm here again, that is. But it feels good, it feels right and I am generally very happy, not to say ELATED to be once again sharing my musings with you after a protracted period of absence! I also feel, may I say, every so slightly nervous, like I have rather a lot to live up to.. blimey!! Boz, I WILL do my best.

So. I thought the best way to kick things off would be to fill you in on what's been going on in my life since I last properly communicated. Well, I can tell you're all dying to know, aren't you...

First off, I'm still working as a teacher. Since I started the job last August it's been a very, very busy year and it hasn't really stopped. There's been sooo much new stuff to learn (curriculum / subject wise), tons and tons of planning and preparing lessons, resources, reading, marking, paperwork....yikes! It's been quite a roller coaster really. Without going into too much detail, there's been one heck of a lot to assimilate and I've had more than my fair share of problems and stresses at times, some of which have involved badly behaved students. All of this has combined to make me sometimes wonder whether it has all been worth it. However there have been lots of positives and not all of the students have been unpleasant, thank God...happily there are some very nice ones indeed. Plus I've genuinely enjoyed having the opportunity to teach the subject that I love, as well finding ways to make the learning process enjoyable, fun and challenging and producing loads of teaching resources along the way (I'm a highly creative bunny when it comes down to it). As well as helping my students with their various needs. Having one of my students achieve a decent grade or result, and knowing that I've helped them towards that is something that I find eminently satisfying. And, my work colleagues at the college have proved to be a very good bunch all round, providing loads of supportive and advice as well as being a generally good laugh - a definite necessity in this kind of profession. And it's a damn sight more interesting than doing some desk-bound office job. I don't regret leaving all that behind for a moment. Okay, sometimes I've wished I was back doing something less demanding, but the benefits still outweigh the drawbacks (most of the time). The other point is of course that I don't have to stay doing what I'm doing for the rest of my life. Being in a permanent job (oh yes, I forgot to mention that I'm no longer just on a contract, yaaaay!) gives me that option.

What else? Well after months and months of lessons I finally took my driving test earlier this month. Unfortunately I failed. Mmmm. Well, lots of people do on their first attempt, so I'm not alone on that one. On top of which, I've tried to console myself with the fact that I was nearly 40 years old by the time I started lessons and prior to that had never driven a car in my life. So with hindsight I've not done as badly as I could have done to get this far. These things take time to pick up and the old adage that teenagers learn/pass quickly as they have less inhibitions than older folk is probably true. Anyway on the day of the test I was failed on two major faults: one, steering too late when pulling out from a turning and nearly hitting a parked car (I admit that was every so slightly stupid) and (so I was told) going straight through a pedestrian crossing and not noticing a nearby car which was about to pull out. The examiner was a bit of a moody n' grizzled old geezer and had a right go at me. Nice. Well, as someone said to me, if you pass first time round it means you're a crap driver and you probably become sure of yourself too early on and end up having a massive accident - another worthy piece of advice that I can take some solace in. You learn from your errors and now at least I know what NOT to do next time. My next test is booked up for July - seems like bloody ages, I couldn't believe that there were no available lessons prior to that, but c'est la vie. At least I've got more time to practise.

Gustavo is good and working very hard in his job. We're both happy but admittedly we've also been working too hard and too much at times and could definitely do with a holiday. A Xmas holiday in Brazil is on the cards and the thought of spending the yuletide season in warm climes fills me with...warmth! We want to go somewhere in the Summer break though, it's a must.

Dr Who? How could I refrain from mentioning the most important programme in the entire cosmos? Well, it's not been on much this year, has it? Grrrr. Actually to tell the truth, I've kind of got used to its absence and it'll be a nice surprise when it comes back full time next Spring.

Last year's Xmas special, "The Next Doctor" left me kind of cold (well it was Xmas I guess...) it was better than Voyage of the Damned but only marginally. David Morrisey was quite good as the "other" Dr - many people feel he could have been a strong contender for DT's replacement and I can see why - he's quite a handsome bugger for one thing. Dervla Kirwan made a deliciously diabolical villain but lacked any kind of motivation for teaming up with the Cybermen. Talking of whom, the presence in the story of the silvery ones seemed very kind of secondary this time round - just rolled out again as a stock enemy/monster from the Doc's past - not one of their most memorable stories.

"Planet of the Dead" was better still but kind of pedestrian (well as pedestrian as having a London bus transported to another world can be, but it's all par for the course in DW isn't it?). Michelle Ryan, proving that there is life after Zoe Slater, made for an intelligent, gutsy and assertive companion as Lady Christina. I also liked the nods to Emma Peel (the slinky leather catsuit notwithstanding and the cat burglar sequence at the start, which was good fun). Lady C also reminded me quite a bit of Romana with her haughty mannerisms, although this did render her rather "up herself" too (my powers of character analysis / description hereby evaporate) - the character could have done with being a bit more humane and humbler at times I felt. However Lady C had great potential and I'd quite like to see her back in the right circumstances. In general something I have noticed about the DW specials is that they have often gone for the "big" and obvious elements - the larger than life villains, BIG special effects and visual style (with substance sometimes taking a back seat), in short, rather pantomimesque. There's nowt wrong with being more subtle sometimes. However the forthcoming "Waters of Mars" looks like it might fit more into this category and looks very promising indeed - here's hoping.

Oh! And I almost forgot to mention Matt Smith whose arrival is imminent. So, what do we all think about him then? I confess I've seen him in no TV progs whatsoever, so can't really pass comment on his acting but he definitely fits the mould of eccentric-looking Time Lord, and judging by the brief interviews that I've seen him in, I'm sure he'll make a good stab at the role. I was never a huge David Tennant fan so I'm quite happy to welcome a newcomer on board. The one thing I'm hesitant on is Matt Smith's (very young) age for the Doc; having said that, Peter Davison was a mere nipper when he took on the Time Lord role and look how good he proved to be. The "old soul in a young body" thing may well ride again...

Music? Over the past few months I have mostly been listening to:

Royksopp - Junior. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Electro-eighties infused brilliance that is. Happy Up Here is great bouncy pop, Miss It So Much is cheesy yet mournful and the thrilling, dramatic electro-pulse of The Girl and The Robot is probably their best thing yet - and now deservedly released as their next single. Some say they're becoming too mainstream but the Norwegian twosome definitely still have that unusual edge that sets them above others ... can't wait for "Senior" later this year.

Lady Gaga - The Fame. Okay, so I'm miles behind everyone else who started raving about this months and months back. Poker Face is a classic and the rest of the album is pretty good, if not quite up to the standard of that aforementioned track. To be fair I've only played it a couple of times...

Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You. Again everyone jumped on the Lily bandwagon yonks ago, but I'm a slow one to catch up sometimes, so you're just going to have to bear with me. I was very pleasantly surprised by this one - she's a lady to watch. The Fear is a faberoonie track with its clever lyrics and It's Not Fair is deliciously tongue in cheek and naughty (and have you seen the brilliant p*sstake video skitting those 70s American music shows? Love the rooster on the stage and Lily's fringe...) F*ck you very much is hilarious and I love the fairground style accompaniment.

Alcazar - Disco Defenders. Not sure about lead singer Andreas showing off his bandy legs on the cover, but this is pretty good. My fellow bloggers Caress and Newplanet raved about this one ages ago - yeah, yeah, well I've been off the scene for ages, innit. Actually not every track on the album is up to standard (in my highly critical view) but We Keep On Rockin, Inhibitions and My My Me and Mine all cut the mustard. Harlem Nights is the stand out for me, a stomping track with honky-tonk style and jazz claps. Fab stuff.

Yep, my tastes remain nothing if not eclectic.

I still love Prisoner: Cell Block H and Gustavo and I are slowly but surely working our way through the entire 692 episode boxset. We're currently up to episode 202 - Bea Smith has been suffering with a bad case of amnesia and mullet-haired Margo has taken over as top dog. Gustavo is now a definite convert (yesssssss) and his favourite characters are Bea Smith and Lizzie "it's me ticker" Birdsworth. More Prisoner updates to follow... typical Cheeser fashion I have rabbited on a great deal but that's what you've all come to expect from me, haven't you? I should add so far it's been all about ME, but I also wanna know how it's all going with YOU! (To tell the truth I have been checking into most people's blogs on a regular basis, so I am keeping abreast of what you've been up to!!) SO. It's great to be back and I shall now toddle off...not for such a long absence this time, though...

OC xx