Just glanced at the hits counter on the blog and it has reached 5,000 visits to the blog. When I hit 2,000 we had a celebration of sorts – so I guess 5,000 needs marking as well! So a little celebratory wittering about my recent activities seems in order!
The blog has changed in character a little in recent weeks – other commitments have kept me from posting regularly, and when I do post it has been more personal CJ stuff about my day to day activities, and less of my lengthy essays on science, religion and parapsychology. I certainly will be blogging on those subjects again, and I have a whole new series to try out – I’m going to interview a number of people, some of whom readers of the blog may know, but all of whom have achieved eminence in their fields. The People: series will start soon, and will cover many of the unlikely and fun folks I know from the worlds of Science, Media, Games and History. Amusingly some of the people I have approached to interview actually seem quite flattered — and none have refused to date!
So what else is going on? I have pretty much quit the Richard Dawkins forum now, as I said I would, happy to let my record stand — I have made rather a lot of posts there, and I am happy that anyone who wants to can read them. I have been helping an old friend, making a lot of phone calls, and hoping some good comes out of it for him – I won’t say more – and this weekend is Lorna’s birthday, Becky is coming to visit and I will get to see Clare “Goldfish” Hatfield for the first time since my thirtieth birthday while she is in town. Been a while! Lisa is up to her neck in nationality paperwork, the cats are loud and demanding as always, but just as lovable, and generally “all quiet on the Western Front.”
Today was supposed to be busy with work, and a couple of hours out to go do a piece for an American ghost show. I met Dave Williams a lovely guy who gave me a lift to where we were filming in the south of the county, but we left early to be there on time, and by the time we had finished well that has put back work a good day. I’m going to have to work like crazy tonight to catch up — so naturally I’m blogging instead. The TV show was one of these Most Haunted format things – I signed no NDA and can comment freely, but I will wait till after it airs before naming it, but the usual rules apply — the distinction critical to normal TV between talent (on screen) and crew (off screen)is lost, the guys filming the show are the stars of the show, and they spend a night in a haunted location. With Most Haunted of course (for which I was briefly a researcher for Hanrahan Media on the early Most Haunted Lives, and then later for ANTIX on the series) one of my criticisms was that the experience of the crew takes place largely in a vacuum – you see and hear little about earlier experiences, or how the claims tie in to the parapsychological literature and other cases. (OK, not always, sometimes they interview witnesses – but not much). This show does not take that approach – I was asked about an experience about sixteen years ago, which I related to camera, and then talked a lot about the history of the area, the building, and so forth. It will be cut to a thirty second snippet if I am lucky – which reminds me of a funny story…
In 1993 I set up a psychic research group in Cheltenham. The Cheltenham Psychical Research Group to be exact, or CPRG. My then landlord Derek Newman was terribly “busy and efficient”, and soon we had a full blown office and a seriously impressive organization. (later it all went pear shaped, but more of that another time!) Unfortunately our press releases went out to the local media on April 1st, and I’m sure some of them thought it was an April Fool’s Joke. Back in those pre-Most Haunted days ghost groups were still rare, and people used to offer to pay us to visit their properties! (For those who don’t know, some owners of reputedly haunted houses are booked solid every weekend till next year with fee paying investigators nowadays…)
Anyway a week or two later I did an interview I will never forget. It went something like this–
Journo: So you study ghost and poltergeist cases?
CJ: Well I study alleged ghost and poltergeist experiences yes.
Journo: What would you do if you were in someones haunted house and a ghost threw an axe at you?
CJ: Pray and duck! I’m pretty confident that won’t happen though. (laughing)
Journo: So can you get rid of a poltergeist?
CJ: When I start to investigate the phenomena seem to invariably end. Maybe the spooks are shy?
Journo: So how do you deal with cases?
CJ: I sit down, have a coffee with the witnesses and try to work out what they experienced, record testimony and understand the claims fully…
Next day I was less than delighted to read in the paper “Local Ghostbuster …(CJ)… says he can cure any poltergeist with prayer, optimism and a cup of coffee!”
The only good news about all the press coverage was they usually got my age wrong, making me a couple of years older than I was. I once got in to an over-25′s night at Gas Nightclub with cheap drinks (I was 23 at the time) by waving a set of newspaper clippings giving the wrong age at the bouncers. Oh to have people believe I was under 25 today!
Anyway, back to the filming. It was ok, and it was clear sensation was the order of the day. Luckily I had quite a sensational story – nah, ok, it was interesting though. Dave had a fantastic story — I was jealous. Mine was “mildly interesting”. So I got to double up as historian. I seemed to spend an awful lot of the day standing under a tree sheltering from the rain, and a fairly short period in a graveyard being filmed. Of course the graveyard had nothing to do with the story, but it did remind me of sitting chatting to Clare the Goldfish there, some sixteen years ago, the night Derek and Harry were “busy and important” and Dave “the Munchkin” Aukett was swallowed by blue ectoplasm. OK, he got in his blue sleeping bag, but recorded it as the former! People were fairly bored and constantly told to write down ANYTHING that happened – which led to vigil record sheets with things like 1.06pm “fly enters room”. 1.07pm “fly buzzes Dave”. 1.08am “fly deceased.” I ended up chatting to people, and amusingly when who was with who as vigil partners was randomly drawn ended up with the very pretty Clare for almost all the sessions – my then girlfriend Sarah was not much impressed as I recall!
Heck, I suppose in my twenty years of ghosthunting I have a lot of anecdotes but like these ones, they really are only of interest to my friends, and the people who were there. Anyway I enjoyed the day, met a witch and talked incubi and pagan politics – not so much “Wicca and Witchcraft” as “Bicker and Bitch-craft” – and a chap called Alan who took a photo of the building which showed a figure looking out of the window. Even while they were doing interviews stuff was happening apparently, but I was not really privy to it until I was briefly filled in by one of the three main investigators later. Nice chaps, but I never really felt I got to know them at all – us “witnesses” talked among ourselves mainly, and I spoke to the crew quite a bit – but fun all round. Many thanks to Jeff Belanger for setting it up – I really enjoyed it even if I now have to work hard to catch up and not let my current employer down.
And on that note – well I enjoy blogging I guess, though I suspect i have very little worth saying, but maybe my life has a few moments which might amuse. It was nice to come home and find a comment from Keith Hitchman, who I have not seen in a long time, and I have been to TESCO. I shall resist the urge to coment about that. Yet, mundane or a little screwball as my life may be, a blog would be nothing without he readers and commentators. Whereas Beast has long wonderful academic discussions, my blog is a more light hearted affair, and I thank you all for reading.
And just before I say goodnight and do some work ready for more of the interminable phoning tomorrow, what search terms bring people here?
“how to use vacuum nipple clamps”
“richard wiseman spanking”
“bottomless bathing suits”
are among my recent favourites. Shame it oes not tell you who searched – I’d like ot meet Swindon’s lonely transvestite, and say “good luck!” I have a transexual friend, but as far as I know no tranvestite ones – yet.
“anna richardson sexy” got many hits which must do wonders for her ego – her career is going well, though I’m more disturbed by people searching for her address! Maybe they just want to write for an autograph. Over seventy people have looked for the Rev. Keith Hitchman – “revd keith hitchman 2009 cheltenham” was one search string from tonight, and “cress seeds experiment” is pretty popular. People are still looking for the Science of Ghosts website, and parapsychology, atheism, “was easter pagan?” and “bonze age myths” all rank highly in searches bring people here. Some people are looking for Jerome – friends from Richarddawkins.net I guess, or enemies from the same – and my esays on “Science and Religion” do very well. The highest ranked search term though? “Lord Kelvin”! Given the number of wonderful sites there are on Kelvin, that really surprises me. He massively outdoes “Darwin” as a search term. Maybe some school has a Kelvin essay title? I’ll add a good Kelvin link in the morning.
Night all , and thanks for reading!
I noticed at 2pm today there were exactly 2000 hits on the blog. Now of course the blog has existed well over a year – but until the last week in February I never actually wrote anything, so that is two thousand hits in just over a month, with about 90 visits a day (the software ignores my views). This is really great – I strongly suspected I would bore everyone to death, but clearly some people read my ramblings. It is quite noticeable that while I have ranged over many of my favourite issues, philosophy, science, the paranormal, scepticism, epistemology, history, archaeology, being old fat and bald — I have so far wrtitten nothing much on my great passion roleplaying games, beyond briefly mentioning a convention in Fun Forthcoming Events. Its worth clicking on category that from time to time — I may have a strange idea of what is fun, but honestly, I only advertise things I think you might enjoy. Anyway, I will certainly be writing more on LARP, Freeforming and tabletop rpg in the future – to be honest I don’t write much about computer games either, but Fallout 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV take up a lot of my time. Hell I even watched 24 hour Party People last night – I can relate to the late Tony Wilson in some ways, as a few of you might guess – but I don’t blog about films either.
Still, on things I do write about – some people seem to like it. The search terms I see listed for what brought people here to the blog are fairly funny at times. There seems it be a massive industry in stalking Anna Richardson, given the number of people googling her, and some of the search terms – sadly I can’t see who is googling it, only the search terms! Also really popular is questions about clothes she wore or certain episodes of Supersize versus Superskinny. Well for all you Anna Richardson fans out there, some news – she has a website — http://www.annarichardson.co.uk/home.html – and yes I have met her a couple of times maybe a decade ago, maybe a bit less, in TVland, and yes she was very nice. And no I don’t know any of the answers to things people keep googling about her!
What else do people google for? Lord Kelvin seems very common – maybe I shall write a page on him sometime, and the odd technical term like epistemology, falsification, etc crop up. A huge rash of hits were people looking for The Science of Ghosts event at Edinburgh Science Festival I mentioned, http://www.scienceofghosts.com/ – rather less for the UK Sceptics conference though. The Jesus Myth, darwin and “bronze age myth” crop up a lot. My all time favourite however, andI hope the picture of me in a pink beret really helped this poor individual, was whoever googled and found theirway here looking for the search term “photos of fat ghosthunters.” That really is a fetish I have never seen before, but hey, maybe now I am someones pin up?
Anyway time is short, and I need to prepare food before heading out. It’s lovely to se epeople who know me from all over the net, and very different communities, reading and commenting on my rants, ramblkings and occasional raves, and I d o eventually reply to every comment, though it sometimes takes a week. If you have read this far do comment and say hullo ,and introduce yourself to the other regulars, for there seem to be a small band of regular commenters. Clearly my prose lacks that Necronomicon edge I was hoping for.
Also, if you have a blog or livejournal or similar, do let me know the address if you would like me to link – or email me if you want it to be a secret.
OK, last thing – why is the blog Jerome23? Chris Jerome was the name Chaosium published the Parapsychologist’s Handbook monograph under – I think it just fitted better on the cover – and as it is just an abbreviation, a contracted form of my actual name I use it as a pen name. Some of my other rpg writing was under the name CJ Falster, because the editot got the wrong idea from my email address – and there are at least two other pen names out there which I have written under, asnd a couple of variants used in TV, aminly because whoever did the credits could not spell my name or did not check! Jerome is the name I use on a number of forums – but I use cj.23 more than anything as many of you will know. Anyway, what’s in a name? I have not mentioned on some of the communitiesI post on I have a blog yet – probably won’t actually – but it is nice to see how many people have made their way here anyway!
Right, time to go…. and sincere thanks for reading!
Warning: CJ is rude about weight loss, weight, television, pantomine dames and fatness. If you are offended by such things, do not read further. In fact try another blog. CJ is rude about everything, but mainly psychics, ghosthunters and Richard Dawkins. Not in that order.
I am Fat
Well I am fat. Obscenely, horrendously, miserably, intolerably fat. I was always aware I was fat, but a recent photo of me at St Briavels Castle made it clear — I am hideous! (OK, this may be the most unflattering photo ever, but you get the point…)
Yes I know I am wearing a pink beret, a pink scarf and a shawl. They belong to Natalie and Lorna, and no I would not willingly dress like this, the girls mugged me and made me don such silly apparel. For which fact you should all give praise to God – imagine meeting that coming through Tesco aisles towards you on a Friday night? Every little helps, but not with a heart attack it doesn’t. Or if you are made of sterner stuff, you might just die laughing. Or weep in sympathy, if of charitable disposition. Anyway you don’t want to see people willingly dressed like that.
So I figure I need to find out how overweight I am, and finding myself passing Boots the Chemist, which has a “I speak your weight” machine which actually does no such thing, discretely printing it instead on a slip of paper, I succumbed. (The “I shout your weight” machine should be invented for the benefit of bored shop assistants. One customer in ten it just sets off a siren and starts shouting insults along with the customers weight. Except people would be upset and sue – it is after all the machines fault they are morbidly obese porkers, like er, well, me.)
And you know what? I’m really overweight. Well two and half stone over the top of my right weight for height, which given my height is not enough to make me in the red “have you considered a Co-op funeral plan?” category to mean I will not see Christmas, but is so far in to the yellow “I look like I have liver failure” bit that I may not live to see 2012 and the Mayans hoover us all up or whatever is supposed to happen. Bummer.
Now there are lots of really good reasons why people get fat, many medical, many quite sad. My uncle weighed 54 stone, lived to a ripe old age and was a wonderful mortician. He died after he had slimmed, and slipped on the ice and struck his head. I could not help wondering if it would have happened if he had not lost the weight – but anyway, he was a great example of someone who is obese for medical reasons, which do not seem to much impact his general health, given his longevity and quality of life. A few of you met uncle Ted, and can attest to his joyful happy existence. I have no time for the cult of anorexia, and the super-skinny fad. Size zero? Get lost.
Supersize versus Superskinny
It was a shame to see the journalist Anna Richardson, a lovely attractive woman who I have met a few times and is not in the least overweight on this Supersize vs. Superskinny show talking about her weight loss plans. OK Anna, if by some bizarre chance you read this give up on the weight loss, it’s no better than the psychic artists! As I recall you are gloriously sexy in real life, so cut out the “I’m lardy” nonsense and the huffing around with a bunch of jolly welsh WI types, nice lasses all from what I saw, and get back to counting the profits from this production… You do not need the LA treatment, you need a sympathetic commissioning editor and a better pitch – this show is strangely compelling though!:) Wonder what, other than this, Anna doing these days? Last I saw she was hanging around with Ben Devlin in a TV studio in the basement of a North London club, making stuff for Living TV? Well anyway Supersize versus Superskinny is probably one of her productions, and it was bizarrely interesting for someone like me who has absolutely no interest in diets – till now. BAh, I’m being nice about a TV show – this will never do!
Um, actually is seeing that show why I think I’m fat? Am I really actually svelte and graceful? Have I been traumatized by a TV show? I’ll get my solicitors on to it in the morning. Oh no, I remember – it was the Widow Twanky photo and the fact I’m a fat b*stard.
So I have to get a plan. I’m two and a half stone in to the Sheriff Fatman dimension. Baby Isabelle born to my friends Steve and Carol earlier today is about a quarter of what I need to lose: unfortunately despite appearances, I am not pregnant.
On my Bike
So I have made a decision. My old bike has rusted solid, so I need a new bike. I am now going to attempt a cost/benefit exercise on if I get a new bike or not.
I get to exercise
It beats walking
I get to kill old ladies at the sight of my bare arse hanging over the saddle
I get to places quicker.
The fatness may kill me
I dislike exercise of any type. Well almost!
Cycling round here requires a death wish. I will get run over!
Old ladies may jab me in the rear with their brolly’s as my undignified flab slowly rumbles past, asthmatically wheezing
I have no where to go, on foot or bike.
Cars WILL kill me. I know nothing of roads, I grew up on a farm.
That last thought made me consider buying a horse instead. I’m not sure when I can pasture said beastie, but I will see if the town has a medieval charter or if I can find any local Commons rights in medieval legal manuscripts that I can invoke. Maybe I can pasture my horse in the town hall? Failing that I can apply for a residents parking permit for the local multistorey, buy a load of hay, and stable it there.
Bah, humbug. I don’t like horses. Big smelly things that bite your legs off if I remember Becky correctly.
So bike or fat?
In 2007 136 cyclists were killed in the UK, with 2,428 seriously injured.
Obesity kills around 30,000 a year according to the NHS.
So the answer is clear, and CJ is buying a bicycle. Well he bought the Echo, and is going to look for a very cheap machine. Wish me luck! It sounds like in answer to the question bike or fat, fat kills you faster.
So we will see. Watch this space.