Monday, 15 May 2017

laser eye surgery

So it became apparent as the doctor spoke to me that today's pre-op appointment for laser eye surgery was actually an op appointment for laser eye surgery.

(- 'Do you have any questions?'
- '[realisation dawning]... When will I have the surgery?'
- 'In about five minutes.')

(At my eye test earlier in the year it was apparent that the right lens had really clouded over and the sight had really deterioriated; I hadn't realised it until the eye test. This was not unusual, apparently, after lens replacement, and just needed the clouding lasered off; the optician wrote to my GP to refer me to the hospital, which they did.)

Quick, easy, painless, sight restored to tip-top condition. I love the NHS, and the lovely French doctor pinging away at my lens with her laser like some extraordinary video game. I could hear clicks in my head as the laser made good contact with the material.

Funniest thing, as always, is signing a surgery consent form which you literally can't read because of the drops in your eyes.

Funniest thing for me, that is. Funniest thing for everyone else was the fact that I went all the way home with the '*this* eye' arrow felt-penned on my forehead.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

the social network

On Friday 5th May Maisie and I watched The Social Network (which I'd recorded only the night before, though I had recorded it before on the old digibox and never seen it) - we both enjoyed it. It was very well done, for such a talky, plot heavy film (Aaron Sorkin scripted). Again, one wondered how close to the truth it was, but it couldn't be too far away from it, being the story of very wealthy living people.

action in arabia

On Monday 1st May - bank holiday - we all watched Action In Arabia, another DVD Maisie had given us for our anniversary, from a big reissue series of mostly minor films available cheap at Fopp. As with the Mr Moto film, it was short, and straight in and out, and rather better than we'd expected - certainly better than Mr Moto. George Sanders in particular added a bit of natural class to this wartime propaganda movie.

think fast, mr moto

On Saturday 29th April we all watched Think Fast Mr Moto on DVD, which Maisie had given to us for an anniversary present. It wasn't bad, and certainly rather better than I had feared it might be (although the representation of Chinese and Japanese characters, often by Western actors, not least Peter Lorre in the main role, was 'of its time', shall we say), but not good enough to make me think it worth going to Fopp to pick up some of the sequels which they also had there for £3. It was just over an hour long - a B movie, one presumes - and was striking in the way that it plunged you without explanation straight into the story and then just stopped once it was over, which may have been for necessity and, again, of its time/status, but I wish more modern films still did.

a quiet passion

On Tuesday 25th April I had the day off, as well as Bethan, and during the day we went to the Curzon Bloomsbury to see A Quiet Passion, about Emily Dickinson, which was pretty good, even though it was a Terence Davies film.

Friday, 5 May 2017

oblivion

On Monday 24th April Maisie and I watched Oblivion, the science fiction film starring Tom Cruise. It was pretty good, and had some interesting ideas and reasonable internal logic, though towards the end it rushed through plot unfolding for the sake of action scenes, and I'd have rathered the former.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

book-writers

I recently came across a little notebook with some bits and pieces in it which Maisie had said when she was wee, which I'd never transferred to the secret blog.

Here's something I saw today which she said to mummy: 'Me and daddy are going to be book-writers when we grow up - would you like to be in one of them?'

It pulled at my heart when she said it, as it does today. I hope that she manages to fulfil all the ambitions that she has.

Friday, 28 April 2017

the unimposing creator

Astonishingly, the Creator seldom imposes himself on his creatures. It requires attention and effort on our part to 'remember your Creator,' because the Creator slips quietly backstage. God does not force his presence on us. When lesser gods attract, God withdraws, honouring our fatal freedom to ignore him.
- Philip Yancey, Rumours of Another World.

I read something very recently - annoyingly, I can't remember where, I'd thought it was this book, which I'm still reading, but I can't see it - to the effect that if God had wanted to force us to believe then Jesus after his resurrection would have appeared to Pilate and Herod rather than the disciples.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

morris folk club - april

Bethan and Maisie came with me for some of Morris Folk Club on Tuesday evening, but left at eight without having heard me sing, lucky them.

By myself I sang Come By The Hills, Kishmul's Galley; Seth and I (with a rare outing for my guitar) sang Flower of Scotland; and our group sang Three Craws as one of the choir group songs. I think they all went fine.

Friday, 14 April 2017

1 peter; 2 peter and jude

On Sunday 19th February I finished the IVP Tyndale commentary on 1 Peter by A F Walls (introduction) and A M Stibbs (notes). It wasn't great; one of the least satisfactory Tyndale commentaries I can remember reading. It felt a bit less analytical and a bit more sermony/daily-Bible-notesy than the series usually is. The introduction wasn't bad, though. The current IVP Tyndale 1 Peter isn't the same book.

On Thursday 13th April I finished Michael Green's IVP Tyndale commentary on 2 Peter and Jude. It was a solid, sensible little commentary; interestingly, it still seems to be the current one, though it's quite old (a lot of my IVP Tyndales - as these two - are picked up secondhand so are not the latest version); perhaps he revised it at some point along the way.

Both these commentaries, of course, read in relation to what we're studying in our house group Bible studies. (Next up, Romans; have a number of commentaries to choose from on the shelf already, not sure whether to go for John Murray's old one or FF Bruce's IVP Tyndale (also old); Tim Keller's done a more popular commentary on it recently, I have noticed.)

now you see me 2

On Friday 24th March in the evening I watched Now You See Me 2 on DVD with Maisie (she'd bought it new recently); it wasn't great, even more preposterous than the first one (throughout one is disbelieving that these tricks/illusions/stunts/feats are doable in the real world of the film rather than just things created to look good on screen, which for me undermines the whole essence of the film) and more pointless. Maisie enjoyed it rather more than I did.

one chance

On Monday 27th March I watched One Chance, the Paul Potts biopic, with Maisie. It was quite good - pretty straightforward and warmhearted, which was fine by me.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

hoovering music

I appreciate the irony of singing 'I want to be anarchy - no dogsbody!' while I'm hoovering in the toilet, but it's an irony I'm at ease with.

Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees also came up in my hoovering headphones. It took me many years to notice the quiet cry for help in the middle and end of that none-more-strutting anthem: 'I'm going nowhere, somebody help me.' It's really very striking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQwNN-0AgWc

author pen-names

Twitter fun of the day was 'Your author pen name is the name of your childhood pet and the name of the thing you are terrified of'.

J K Rowling's was Thumper Smallspaces, which I rather like.

I worked out my own would be N A Darkheart.

(N A Myown-Darkheart, to give it the full double barrels.)

Friday, 7 April 2017

divergent

On Thursday 6th April Maisie and I watched Divergent in the afternoon. It wasn't bad, although its underlying premise is as preposterous as when I read it in the book; I enjoyed the film more, perhaps because I had less time to think about the preposterous premise. (I'd read the book when Maisie got it, as a vetting pre-read, and it was fine, though in fact she says she didn't finish it in the end; I read it on the train back from Aviemore, where she'd bought it.)

Thursday, 30 March 2017

morris folk club - march

At folk club on Tuesday I sang Ophelia's Song (a setting of some of what Ophelia sings while mad in Hamlet, which I know from Jane & Amanda Threlfall's version) and Billy Taylor (there are a hundred variations on this song, this version was the one which Malinky did). They went okay.

Best of all, though, I got to sing Sweet Nightingale (aka The Birds In The Spring, this version also from Jane & Amanda Threlfall) with Ginny, and that went pretty well. I always particularly enjoy singing duets with Ginny, as not only does she sing beautifully but I think our voices go well together (they do in my head at least; I can't guarantee what it sounds like in the real world). (I pretty much always enjoy singing duets with anyone from the choir, of course, which is full of people with lovely voices, so that in itself isn't remarkable.)

Full set list here.

Friday, 24 March 2017

the smiths

Thinking of every Smiths song I like, there isn't one I wouldn't prefer with Morrissey's vocals taken off.

Monday, 20 March 2017

what would an atheist do?

I've started reading Rumours Of Another World, by Philip Yancey. Here's an interesting early paragraph:

'No society in history has attempted to live without a belief in the sacred, not until the modern West. Such a leap has consequences that we are only beginning to recognize. We now live in a state of confusion about the big questions that have always engaged the human race, questions of meaning, purpose, and morality. A sceptical friend of mine used to ask himself the question, "What would an atheist do?" in deliberate mockery of the What Would Jesus Do (WWJD) slogan. He finally stopped asking because he found no reliable answers.'

Saturday, 11 March 2017

the comforters

On Tuesday I finished The Comforters by Muriel Spark. It was her first novel, which I'd never heard of before seeing the list of her novels on Wikipedia a while ago, in relation to doing a page for Not To Disturb, which I'd never heard of before seeing and buying it. In fact, given what a notable novelist she is, there were a surprising number of novels I'd never heard of, below the big hitters.

I enjoyed it rather more than I'd expected, for a first novel I'd never heard of from a big name, after not being impressed by Memento Mori, which is one of the big hitters. I liked the quirkiness of it, especially the idea of the character who felt she was in a novel, in itself not unheard of psychiatrically, and her relationship with the novelist she could hear typing; that wasn't fully resolved or explained, but that annoyed me less than similar effects in Memento Mori and Not To Disturb. It was plot-packed, some of it I think deliberately daft because of the 'in a novel' theme. (I guess the title is a reference to Job's comforters, but if it is I don't get it much.) So, certainly my favourite of hers I've read apart from The Prime. (Her novels are not very long, which also makes me happier to give others a go after ones I've not been so keen on.

Friday, 10 March 2017

greenbelt - reflections

In broad summary, I'd say going to Greenbelt last year, my first actual camping festival, was a pleasant surprise in terms of the practicalities (as covered in the previous post, and not least due to having Susannah there to help make it a good experience for us), was rather disappointing and unremarkable on the whole as a music festival (as also covered in the previous post), and was depressing as a Christian festival.