What’s with “People Acting On CO2″? Wouldn’t it just make the poor actors drowsy??? Theatre on N2O (Nitrous Oxide) – now that might be entertaining?
OK, so it snowed, and for a few days now people have seemed to think the world is ending. It might be, but a few inches of snow hardly constitutes a cause for alarm and widespread panic!
OK, so my photo is dull, but by now you have seen a million dramatic photos of people in the snow doing heroic or exciting things. I am to photography what Pooter was to diaries.
OK, look it’s probably more interesting than anything that happens INSIDE my bedroom, ok? Unless you find people reading Ars Magica 5th Edition arousing, in which case seek help (or join the Berkllist, the Ars Magica mailing list.) Actually I could tell a couple of amusing stories about that, but I won’t…
Does not look at all bad in this photo; actually it was pretty unpleasant, the roads were a mushy mess, and the pavements treacherous. Gets better as you get in to the Town centre. Drivers get roads gritted, but pedestrians are left to die in droves*, Hugh says possibly because if they salt the pavements and mess up you get more injury claims?
(* OK, a slight exaggeration. Cheltenham High Street was devoid of corpses when I walked down it: no carnage ensued, and only two people fell over while I was in town. It was hardly Massacre-on-Ice — but with everyone over excited about a sprinkling of snow I thought I could be a bit dramatic. )
How fare the brave inhabitants of Normal Terrace in this icy wilderness? Well none of the cats in the street seem keen on going out, but otherwise business as usual…
Yeah, we did not get any post for one day, and the bins were not emptied, but bravely we struggle on, displaying that British stiff upper life (and in my case Anglo-Danish sagging belly)
Are you still reading this? Google returns 3,290 hits for “hot babes in bikinis” and you are still reading this? Oh I see – well 6,170,000 hits for hot men in underwear? Or even 531,000 hits for for improving sermons.?
OK you like pictures of snow. I get it..
Shame I have no talent as a photographer. Or as an ice sculptor come to that. I felt snowmen were sexist,and snow women sound bit dodgy, so I made a snow cat…
OK, even I can stand this little longer. Another shot of Normal Terrace…
Hey it beats Google Earth! Who wants to look at satellite pictures when you can see Cheltenham back street s in the snow? Well pretty much every one I guess. Let’s go nocturnal…
I had a stalker once, many, many years ago, but even she gave up on me because I was so dull. Shame really, she should have just read my blog rather than standing around in the chemist shop doorway across the road from my old flat.
Yes, I know you are bored with photos of Normal Terrace in the snow. Here is the next street over, St. Paul’s Street South. It’s not any more interesting though…
And finally a shoggoth eating a car. Oh sorry, not Lovecraft’s horrors from the Mountains of Madness: it’s a bush in Normal Terrace! (You guessed it – in the snow!)
Well there you go. It’s probably not MUCH more boring than many of my other blog posts, but hey, I think it may possibly be of use to insomniacs, masochists with a taste for people’s holiday photos, and people who like to laugh at the British overreaction to snow. If you read this far, please do comment, if only so I know to turn the lights off and lie on the floor when you come round, as clearly you are dangerously deranged. Anyway, keep warm, keep safe, and enjoy the snow while it lasts!
I just wrote this on the UK Skeptic’s forum, in response to this article by Chris Sherwood here on the same subject. I think mine is closer to the truth And before you panic, it’s not autobiographical – these days!
A Day in the Life of a Paranormal Investigator
A Paranormal Investigator is someone who can’t get a real job or any PhD funding. They wake up in the morning to a stack of unpaid bills, and then sweet talk the lovely bailiffs at the door. After a discussion with said gentlemen they pay some cash and mentally cross out their food budget for the next two weeks. They also note the recording they need to finish their lecture review for deadline today has still not arrived. Huzzah!
A paranormal investigator picks up the clothes they wore last night off the floor, hurls a book on Attachment Theory at the cat and wonder if SPR journals burn nicely once the gas has been shut off. They then dedicate four hours to grounded analysis of carefully collected accounts of spontaneous cases – or reading peoples ghost anecdotes to you and me. They code, construct categories by hand because they can’t afford QSR software, and after a hard mornings work with black coffee cos they have no milk they decide they have not made any advances over what Sidgwick and co had in 1894.
So they pop on the JREF for a morning of playful abuse, and after lunch (noodles, with noodle sauce, 12p a bag from oriental supermarket) they wonder why MAcDonalds, Wilkinsons and WH Smiths rejected them. So they spend couple of hours filling in application forms so they can be anything but a paranormal investigator.
The afternoon is busy, busy, busy! Reading the EJP in the bath as the nice shiny paper is not effected by splashes, they realise they are still after all these years useless at the level of stats required to check the articles validity. They wish they could afford a netbook so they could consult SPSS in the bath, but they would only drop it.
After a refreshing bath they set out to track down someone who reported a spontaneous case to them to verify certain questions arising from their account. The email will be ignored, they nearly always are. Wishing they had chosen a better paid career, like say leaflet distributor, professional philosopher or non-affiliated theologian who sells 5 books a year, they start work on a piece on the development of fairy lore in the early modern period, because they have nothing better to do. Then it hits them – they have no food for tea!
But huzzah! they have a call – and the phone is currently connected because their girlfriend paid the bill. And for once it’s not a debt collector! Nope, they are invited to give a talk to a local group. They start drafting it, becoming more and more depressed as they realise no one is actually interested in theoretical work or the parapsychological literature, so it end up as “adventures in ghosthunting”, a comic tale of sitting around in the dark in rooms filled with other hopefuls, while absolutely nothing happens. The difference in being a pro is you don’t have to pay for the privilege.
Suddenly they decide to reach for their handy EMF meter. They can’t hear the washing machine from the basement but long experience shows this device can pick it up – have they washed their pants, as girlfriend coming tomorrow? They dream of the day they can afford a second pair.
Afternoon brings email: another studentship rejection, disturbed family members wondering how you became so unemployable, and a coffee break dedicated to the lesbian mediumship of Eva C – less exciting than it sounds – from an old PSPR. They decide to kill Cousins, Braithwaite, Luke etc for being so much better looking and better funded than them; but then reject the notion, and return to the Spud-U-Like application.
Wasting an hour on wondering why no one seems to be participating Alex Tsaris’ Jaytee the Psychic Dog replication the earnest paranormal investigator returns to their grounded analysis, struggling with methodological issues.
Evening: a bitter ex-wife accusing you of leaving her in poverty, hungry cats yowling for food, and your mother sadly asking how work went? You set out to meet a veteran investigator of mediumship who will buy you lunch,and an enjoyable hour of salacious gossip about the misdeeds of contemporary physical mediums later, well fed, you feel the strength to once again face writing up a study you performed eight months ago. Finally even you are bored with it, so you start work on looking at the geological maps of Gloucestershire, and a water table plan of Cheltenham from Severn Trent, trying to work out if GW Lambert really was on to something.
You get another call – there is a vigil in a haunted house, a local tourist spot, can you attend only £30? Muttering to yourself a Noel Coward lyric
“The Stately Homes of England,
Though rather in the lurch,
Provide a lot of chances
For psychical research-“
You politely enquire who experienced what and when? It seems a tourist thought they saw something in 1982 in the East Wing, and a the under gardener swears he saw the dead master in 1963. On and a cleaner heard a voice call her name last Wednesday but six.
So you suggest that rather than taking 50 people to sit in the dark all night, festooned with electronic gizmos, while a lovely lady reconts the sad tale of the spirit girl who starved to death on Christmas Eve, it might be worth actually just interviewing and recording what the witnesses said, and having a look at that? The person trying to sell you the ghost night hangs up.
You sigh and stare out the window, and regret ever becoming a paranormal investigator. And then you wake up the next day and post this on UK Skeptics.
I think this is a bit closer to the truth actually :
“PM’s Pledge To Flood Devastated Cumbria” is a headline today on Sky News. I thought it unfortunate, and wondered how he plans to get the waters to rise above the level of the local mountains. Presumably his plan involves damning the lakes, levelling Scafell Pike, etc etc, and building a huge dyke around the county before letting the North Atlantic rush in? Flooding the county further seems a little unnecessary, given the “Act of God” (though one has to ask which one is intended by that phrase?) which has already done a pretty good job. Still if you are in Cumberland or Westmoreland might I suggest starting to build an ark, and voting Tory? (I can’t believe I suggested the latter…)
My friend DC comes from Seaton near Cockermouth — I can’t see him being impressed by this latest government initiative. Or maybe Sky News intended to say “PM’s Pledge to Assist Cumbria, Devastated by Floods?” I assume the latter, but my reading was more interesting!
Best wishes to all Cumbrians struggling with the flood, and all News Editors struggling with the English language.
PS They have now an hour later changed the headline to “PM’s £1m Pledge To Help Flood-Hit Cumbria”
Shame the former version was more interesting, while significantly less accurate!
OK I was watching A Haunting last night as Liz is off back home to Bicester and wanted to chat and watch TV. In the course of it i decided to tell the story of how my house came to be haunted…
Long long ago in the late 19th century the area where my house stands today was a muddy field. One day a builder came along and started to dig foundations. Now it just happened at that time a brand new Indian restaurant (Cheltenham’s first) opened down on the High Street. People flocked form far and wide to taste the exotic cuisine.
Now I am sure many of you are aware that Cheltenham’s reputation for being posh originated with the spa, but it was perpetuated when the town became a fashionable place of retirement for retired colonial administrators and military folk back from service in India.
So when the restaurant opened it was an instant hit. There was only one problem.
The family who ran the restaurant came from Kerala and the cuisine was flavoured extensively with coconut milk, and dessicated coconut. The aging colonels were on the whole more used to Northern Indian cuisine – and so as they hurried home with their takeaways, and en route excitedly tasted the food. Disgusted, many simply hurled the cartons repulsed to one side – and mainly in to the foundations of what became my house.
The restaurant soon closed – it was just too alien to British tastes of the time –even ex-colonial ones– but my house was built on those foundations.
And that is why today my home is haunted - it is built on the site of an ancient Indian burial ground.
(And if you believe that you will believe anything!)
I sometimes think my family don’t take my interest in parapsychology too seriously…
It was delicious though!
OK, so I’m still recovering from a long weekend of debauchery. Well ok, I drank half a pint on Sunday night!
A good crowd of folks descended on Cheltenham, and some took part in almost everything, and some took part in only one event, and some appeared for five minutes then vanished as swiftly as they arrived! I think most people have come here looking for the infamous Screws of the World game photos though, so I’ll concentrate on posting those…
For those who don’t know, the Screws of the World is just a slang term for a British newspaper, The News of the World, which is actually quite readable and is a weekend paper – the daily is called The Sun, best known for it’s famous Page 3 girls. It’s a tabloid in the British sense, not the American, it reports real news! Anyway as the game was just named after it you don’t have to know any more – the game was invented by Ben Hayes and myself back in 2000 one long hot summer, and we played it then with interesting results, and some of the teams narrowly avoiding arrest…
So for my fortieth I decided to revive the game, and it can be explained simply – nine players were split in to three teams of three each, and given three hours to take photos to illustrate ten of the most outrageous tabloid headlines i could find (not all from the News of the World of course!) They had a total of forty real tabloid headlines to choose from. The photos that follow are some of the “best” of the attempts – team Jez, Martin and Barbie won in the end, their photos being voted the best, but that hardly matters. Here follow the photos, each captioned with the tabloid headline they were trying to illustrate…