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The Villages

hutch0
Date: 2007-12-22 00:35
Subject: today, i have mostly been writing
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:wearyweary
Music:rush
I've had a cold for the past month or so. I'm tempted to say a series of colds, but I really think it's the same one, and for the last couple of weeks I've had a dreadful hacking cough and felt generally crappy, or crappier than I usually feel. I've had the odd day off here and there, watching daytime television and feeling sorry for myself.
Yesterday, it finally stopped being a chest cold and became a head cold, which for me means it's on its way out. I'll spare you the gory (literally, I had a nosebleed this morning) details but I woke up this morning feeling unable to leave the house, so I called in sick.
For reasons which will send you to sleep, I had a bunch of photographs from the Savoy auction on a USB key which had to go up to our head office today, so around mid-day I dragged myself up the stairs and emailed them.
Now, earlier this month someone asked me to write a story for an anthology they're putting together. I haven't told anybody else about this, especially pds_lit, because for the past few months I've been wondering whether I was able to write at all any more and there seemed no point in getting people's hopes up.
When I was asked to write this story, I sort of picked and prodded at something, but it's been sitting on the laptop for a couple of weeks, going nowhere, and this lunchtime after I'd sent the photos and read The Guardian and The Times online, I opened it up and looked at it.
Long story short, I've been writing for the thick end of twelve hours and I've done slightly less than four thousand words. I'm exhausted and I feel absolutely awful, but I honestly didn't think I could do this any more and it's a nice surprise to discover that I can.
I can't promise that this is the end of a long fallow period, but I feel more hopeful about writing than I have for some considerable time. Oddly enough, it's been a good day, considering.
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hutch0
Date: 2007-12-22 16:51
Subject: watch the skies!
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:calmcalm
Music:rush
According to NASA there's a good chance that next month a large asteroid will hit Mars. It's called 2007 WD5, it's about fifty metres across and it's travelling at around 28,000 miles an hour, and at the moment NASA are giving it a 1-in-75 chance of hitting the planet. If it does, they calculate it'll touch down at around 30,000 miles an hour and make a crater at least half a mile wide. And a hell of a bang.
So put the date in your diaries. January 30, about three in the morning Eastern Standard, around breakfast time here.
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hutch0
Date: 2007-12-22 17:03
Subject: god and nick clegg
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:calmcalm
Music:rush
I forgot to tell you, didn't I. The new leader of the Lib-Dems is Nick Clegg. The election was a close-run thing - Clegg won by about 500 votes - and I suspect what really swung it is that, at 40 compared with Chris Huhne's 53, he was the younger man, it being fashionable these days to have young leaders. Presumably in the not-too-distant future we'll have a situation like in Black Adder The Third, where the Prime Minister has to ask his housemaster at Eton for permission to appear in the House.
Clegg announced his new frontbench team a couple of days ago, and he left Vince Cable in the job he was doing before Ming resigned - ie Treasury spokesman and deputy leader. This is good news, because when Clegg's away we'll still be able to enjoy the sight of Vince standing in at PMQs and sticking it to Gordon.
Clegg has also said that he doesn't believe in God.
Now, as far as I'm concerned Nick Clegg's belief in God, or lack of it, is really none of my business, but what has surprised me is that it's provoked so much comment. Unlike the United States, not having a religious belief usually isn't much of an issue in politics here. If Hillary or Rudy suddenly announced they were faithless, that would pretty much mortally wound their campaigns, but here it doesn't seem to matter so much. I believe Neil Kinnock was an atheist, and it was never an issue, and according to Edwina Currie's diaries John Major once confessed to an agnosticism, although he kept it quiet.
Things do seem to be changing, though. I remember all the fuss a few years ago about Ruth Kelly's membership of Opus Dei, Gordon seems to have embraced the values of his clergyman father, and of course there was the long-running will-he-or-won't-he debate over Blair's intention to convert to Catholicism - which he has just done.
There's an episode in the last season of The West Wing which revolves around the religious beliefs of the Presidential candidates and how it's a real issue. Towards the end Alan Alda, who plays one of the candidates, goes to see Martin Sheen's President Bartlett and tells him that after the death of his wife he lost his faith. I can't understand how that episode ended, but it highlighted just how important religion is in American politics, in spite of the separation of Church and State, and I personally would feel rather uncomfortable if the same situation became the norm here.
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hutch0
Date: 2007-12-22 17:32
Subject: fifty-nine secrets
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:calmcalm
Music:rush
I missed this when it first ran, but back in March The Times listed fifty-nine things we would never have been told if it wasn't for the Freedom Of Information Act.
There are no great scandals here, of course, or state secrets, but it's interesting to see the sort of things our masters are unwilling to tell us. Also interesting is the revelation that the Thatcher government was planning an operation to find the Loch Ness Monster using trained dolphins. Bless.
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hutch0
Date: 2007-12-22 19:57
Subject: christmas quiz
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:calmcalm
Music:rush
It's that time of the year again, when every newspaper, magazine and news site seems to be putting together quizzes of the year. But this one, by The Guardian's fabulously splenetic media commentator Charlie Brooker, is a little different. Some of the answers will mean nothing to those on the other side of the village pond, but there are some little gems here.
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