Thursday, 19 March 2009

F*ck, B*gger, Sh*t

Every now and then everything falls apart. And I mean EVERYTHING. It'll happen over a few days, invariably just before my period. It's like the Universe tires of sending me those good ol' life challenges in dribs and drabs, and decides it may as well bundle them all up and drop them on me all in one go.

1. I have a major row with my partner, fuelled largely by his decision that it's a very good idea to spend ALL weekend digging the vegetable garden, leaving me feeling like a single mother. I lose all perspective. I fantasise about leaving him; killing him; burning his socks; breaking off our so-called engagement. And spend that night fuming in the bed in my den.

2. The hot water decides to take a holiday - naturally said partner is away at the office. Cheerio personal hygiene.

3. I get the mother of all migraines. The kind that's still there when you wake up on Day Four. The kind that barely flinches when you bombard it with a hefty dose of naratriptan, washed down with two paracetamol and codeine.

4. Finally get an evening to myself. Tuck myself up in bed with my laptop and my Lovefilm DVD. What a treat! Insert the DVD. It doesn't play. Or rather it does play, but only in French. And my French is still too crap to have a clue what they're on about.

5. Said partner - we've made up by now - calls to say his office was burgled on the one and only evening when he'd left both his laptop and two digital cameras in it. Between them they contained every single photo and video we've taken over the last six years. And no, he didn't back them up.

6. My ex-husband's new car breaks down, which of course means I have to either lend him mine or spend several days ferrying the kids back and forth when they're supposed to be with him. I'll probably have to lend him the money to repair his car too.

7. Drive ten miles to the gym. Just about have time for a workout before I have to be elsewhere. Open my PE kit. Have brought two T-shirts and no shorts. The woman in reception, who refuses to lend me one of the ten thousand pieces of lost property gear they have boxed up round the back, suggests I work out in my silk skirt. I wonder if I could strangle her with it.

8. My eldest son bunks off university, arriving back at his dad's announcing that he plans to quit. He doesn't even bother to call me. No one tells me what kind of a state he's in so when I'm drafted in to drive him to the station - see above - I end up giving him a piece of my mind about treating me like crap, etc, completely oblivious to the fact that he's on the brink. Or that I am.

And all this in just one week. Along with all the every day irritations that give life its edge. I have reached that point where I've stopped even bothering trying to cope. I have shut myself in my den with a large glass of wine and I am feeling very, very sorry for myself. And for anyone else who happens to cross my path.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Oh hell...

My partner unearthed this on the internet the other day. It's so brilliant I just have to pass it on:

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

This is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid term. Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law, (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following, and received the only 'A' grade given:

"First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, lets look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand as souls are added. This gives two possibilities: If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose. Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. Teresa Banyan during my Freshman year, "...that it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you", and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then, #2 cannot be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and will not freeze."

Oh, to be even half as clever ....

As Good as It Gets

Okay. I wrote bits of a book. Some time later, I wrote other bits. I thought I had a book. But then again, I wasn't sure. I put it in a back drawer.

Several years later, I took it out again. I read it. It made me laugh. It made me cry a bit too. Hey, this book isn't so bad, I thought. This book might just be a real book.

I tidied it up. I tweaked it. I sent it off. One agent asked for the full manuscript. Two said no right off. The first agent wrote back saying they'd talked about it a lot but basically it didn't work. I put the book back in the drawer and sulked for a year or so.

I got the book out again. I read it. I still liked it. I still had the nagging feeling that something was missing. I sent it off for a literary critique. The author who critiqued it also had the nagging feeling that something was missing. She had the nagging feeling that a lot was missing. It was a very flawed book, she said.

I sulked for another year. Then I dragged myself on an Arvon course. Then another. On the second, one of the tutors made a couple of really helpful suggestions. I went home and wrote a new subplot for the book. It was undeniably better. But I wasn't sure. I was worried for my book. I didn't want to send it off again prematurely into the world.

So I waited. I worried some more. Then I tweaked it and sent it off for another literary critique, this time with a different agency. The nice lady said nice things about the book. She said it could be a real book. And she made some really helpful suggestions.

I've acted on those suggestions. I've written in new bits and I've gone over and over it until I don't think you can see the joins. I've read it through a hundred times. I've changed words in sentences over and over until the words swim and the sentences don't seem to make sense any more.

Today I finished. Today, I've finally had to admit that this book is as good as it's going to get. It's time for this little would-be book to go out and try and make its fortune.

And I am terrified.