Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why not just scrap Healthcare all together?

I normally try and write when I am in a calm state; passion and emotion are great for devising a story but a distraction when writing one.

Unfortunately today’s blog will be written purely from a very angry place in my head, if I could title it ‘What Grinds My Gears’, and still pull readers I would, but I can’t

The republicans took the House of Representatives. 

Now yes this is American politics, and No I’m not American, but anyone pretending that changes in America don’t ripple out to become changes in the world are fooling only themselves. 

They want to repeal the Health Reform.

That’s where I got to before I got angry. It’s not really a revelation; they had opposed it for so long, it’s just completely mental. Why would you possibly want to repeal a reform that gives you access to Healthcare. It’s like asking for something bad to happen to you. To put the proverbial cherry on the cake they are doing it under the pretext that the heath reform is unconstitutional...yeah its mind boggling.
When me and my sister were little (and ok occasionally now) we used to spend hours stuck in a ‘yes I did’ ‘no you didn’t’ ‘yes I did’ ‘no you didn’t’ feedback loop, both of us forgetting what it is we were talking about and just arguing the opposite of whatever the other would say. 

It’s how you get caught in the classic switcheroo, ‘no I didn’t’, ‘yes you did – damn it.” 

That’s how I imagine American Politics got to where it is at. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to repeal a reform that gives everyone access to proper health care, so maybe the republicans are trying to repeal it just because it is the opposite of the democrats? 

When I was still at school my politics teacher told me that at election time political parties walk to one side of the political spectrum and run to the middle, it made me feel like politicians had to try and cater to everyone.  Somehow in America the populations at the ends outweigh those in the middle and now you have millions of people asking someone to take away their constitutional right to health care.  It’s deeply unsettling. 

Anyway, rant over… for now anyway. 

Hope you are all appreciating your free healthcare and the sensibilities that come along with said appreciation. 


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

We’re all going to die

Not my most positive blog title yes, but one of the more sensible I promise you. 

I don’t know if you saw the story but on New Year’s Eve thousands, like thousands of birds fell dead out of the sky in Arkansas.  The article is here, with video but to summarize, they don’t know what the hell is going on. 

Obviously people jumped on the ‘the end is coming’ bandwagon as quickly as possible, and although this is ridiculous the pictures are incredibly eerie for a happening that must be based in science not voodoo.  The article suggests that perhaps the birds were startled and all flew up into a thunderstorm and died, but the autopsy results are showing internal damage as a cause of death, not electrocution.  It is the stuff of nightmares, and even though I am and never have been an advocate for ‘the birds’ there is something stirringly sad about thousands of them just dropping out the sky. 

My favorite bit of the article is this fellow: "I've been to Iraq and back and not seen nothing like this," Beebe resident Jeff Drennan told local Fox16 News on Sunday.

Really Jeff? No birds falling out the sky in Iraq then? Just hundreds of people shooting each other and dying? They don’t know how good they have it.

Maybe Jeff’s long reaching stupidity killed the birds? I’ve always thought there was something weird about him, walking around talking to cobble stones and whatnot. 

Anyway, first sign of impending doom for 2011, don’t let life get in the way of living or don’t  be a regretful red winged blackbird, contemplating what you could have done different as you fall out a cloud…either/ or.


Monday, January 3, 2011

..all i need is a Doctor Who Bowtie

I am sure you would start to question my identity if I didn’t at some point talk about the Doctor Who Christmas special, so to avoid identity confusion I am going to tell you all about it.

It was brilliant, a sentence I have perhaps over-used when talking about Doctor Who but none the less the truth. It was clever and funny and sad and poignant, but more than that it was fun and exciting and that kind of ‘silly magical’ that goes down a treat at Christmas.

Flying fish, that come down like rain, fueling themselves through the mist using the tiny electrical charges. A giant shark, and a ship full of people to save, whoever was working on this episode must have been giggling the whole way through, it felt like a story you dreamed about when you were young, except this time the Doctor was there so knew it was going to be alright.

The Christmas special was called ‘A Christmas Carol’ and although I’m a big Dickens fan, the concept has been re worked so many times that it has officially been pronounced dead by the board of imagination.  Somehow the magicians behind Doctor Who spun the idea on its head, added a time machine and re-animated it like the proverbial Frankenstein.  More than anything it was exciting.

It takes the writers mere minutes to set up the premise. The doctor has to convince a man (Kazran), who refuses to use his machine to allow a ship to land, that he must do so before lots of people die. There’s the trademark, ‘you don’t have much time to sort this out Doctor’ scenario that often accompanies a Christmas special.

To jump ahead, the Doctor finds some old footage of young Kazran and projects the image on the wall of the study, here you see the young boy embarking on a ‘secret project’ whereby he hopes to lure a fish into his room so he can see it. Interrupting him, his father walks into his room angry and shouting, he bans Kazran from seeing the fish and we are shown an older Kazran looking on sadly as his young self cries into his arms.
The Doctor disappears into the Tardis and low and behold you hear the unmistakable sound of it landing outside Kazran’s window.  The doctor walking into shot and speaking to old Kazran through the Camera tells him is memories are going to change, before he turns his attention back to young Kazran.

After an adventure with a shark, and a growing understanding of how Kazran became like his father the Doctor begins to visit Kazran every Christmas eve, of course this takes mere minutes for the doctor.

Abigail joins their group, a young girl taken by Kazran’s father as insurance on her family’s loan. She is released from her frozen state by Kazran, because like him she too had demonstrated an interest in the fish before she was frozen. Once he releases her, the Doctor and Kazran find her singing to an injured Shark and realize her voice both calms and disarms the fish. Every Christmas Eve they embark on an different adventure and as time flies an older, more handsome Kazran falls in love with Abigail.

Believing this love will change the future the Doctor seems pleased with his progress, however after learning a deep secret about Abigail, Kazran cuts himself off from the doctor, telling him he no longer wants to see him.
Confused, the doctor returns to the present, Kazran still hasn’t changed his mind. He reveals that each day they released Abigail from her frozen state was a day closer until she died, and on their last meeting Abigail had told him she only had one day left to live. The Doctor realizes that this is what made Kazran the man he is today, that this is why he shut him out of his life.

Finally Amy Pond turns up to appeal to Kazra. Calling herself the ghost of Christmas present she projects him inside the ship to see the people he is going to let die. Enraged Kazran doesn’t care, he laughs at the doctor when he turns up at the house telling Kazran he had shown him the past and now he was going to show him the future. Fine he shouts, show me the future, show me the crying families of the people who died, I don’t care.

When the doctor steps aside young Kazran is standing there, terrified at his future self.  The revelation changes Kazran, almost immediately he softens.  Everything has changed.

After a couple more glitches, and in the last possible minute before everything goes wrong, the Doctor figures out that Abigail’s special ability to sing to the fish could be harnessed to help calm the skies. He asks Kazran to release her, even though this will be the last day she ever lives.

The episode ends with Abigail singing to the skies, as it begins to snow. It gives you the warm Christmas glow you’re always looking for around Christmas.
I hope I waited long enough not to ruin the episode for you, but I swear I really haven’t done it justice and you’d be a fool not to go watch it anyway.

Like always Doctor Who allows you to suspend your belief for a whole hour, not because it’s Christmas and there is magic in the air but because just for a second you get lost in the adventure of it all.

I hope you all had a great holiday, and a fantastic new year! I hope that this year brings lots of adventures to get swept up in, and that you live life remembering that it’s on a limited lease.

All I'm asking for in 2011 is a Doctor Who Bowtie,

Love and Cuddles out into the universe…past, future and present.

Meryl xx

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sausage Rock n Rolla

So I started my blog this time last year, and in the most cyclical move of 2010 just as I started the year I shall end it talking about sausage rolls.

Everyone ate a lot of sausage rolls this Christmas and it is for two reasons, 1.because they are delicious flaky puffs of happiness and 2. They are the savoury alternative to the ridiculous amount of chocolate and candy on offer.

It is sausage rolls that led to me saving Christmas.... Obviously by saving Christmas I don’t mean saving Christmas, really I mean I saved the sausage roll portion of Christmas, but you got to create your own spin on these things, plus I want to see how many Grinch references come up in the advertisements on bloggywog. I’m going to guess at least 3.

It’s not a long story, although that hasn’t stopped me from weaving a lovely yarn before (country reference, nice). To be brief, we ran out of sausage rolls, and to remedy this, my mother sent me to get more. It didn’t take me long to locate them at the local No Frills and as I reached for the last box in the freezer I didn’t imagine there would be any real further complications to the task, until the lady behind me claimed she had got the sausage rolls first.

It took me a second to comprehend the accusation, I did after all have the box of sausage rolls under my arm and she didn’t. How could she possibly be claiming she had reached them first, when they were in fact in my possession? Unlike me this reasoning didn’t prevent her from pursuing the issue. She explained that she had seen them a few minutes ago, and was just grabbing some other things before she was coming back to get them.

This follows very few social etiquette rulings, although to be honest they are always slightly vague, perhaps one can place dibs on a food entree even if it still remains within the confines of its frozen ice house. Worried that I was committing some sort of social faux pas I hesitated but at no point did this negate the huge amount of pressure placed on me to retrieve more sausage rolls. Letting greed and heroism win out, I let the Lady know in no uncertain terms that the Sausage rolls belong to me. Ok I may have said ´Well they’re mine now´ before running off giggling. Shouting expletives at me while I walked away, although deserved, was highly un-Christmassy.

Whatever you think, I came out of that gorgeous yellowy grocery store with a box of 60 sausage rolls and two bottles of coke, and the whos began to sing, it was pretty darn special.

On a less exciting note:

I would like to apologize for my absence the last few weeks, I have a brand new job and a brand new project I’m working on and poor old bloggywog got moved to the backburner. On the subject of backburners (excellent Segue) for Christmas I got a SLOW COOKER, more on that later.

Back on topic..I will try and keep up to date with the blog, I love it so much at very least I will reduce the amount of distance between posts.

Now back to the Slow Cooker. I love it! I literally cut up a tonne of veggies, threw them in the pot with some beef broth, some water and some diced tomatoes (apparently the backbone of any Crockpot recipe???)and some beef and turned it on. All night it laboured away cooking and stewing. Of course I haven’t tried what I made yet, but it smells delicious! Thank you Olie and Jenny it’s amazing!

The box said it was a set and forget cooker, and seeing as my general attitude towards cooking has always been set and forget this was the perfect gift.

I did really well for gifts this year, so thank you to everyone! I hope you all having a fantastic winter holiday and that you are all happy and successful in this coming year....THE YEAR OF THE RABBIT! It’s supposed to be a lot calmer than the YEAR OF THE TIGER that just went by (why the CAPS meryl? – I don’t know animal years feel like they should be capitalized don’t they?)

Ok love and kisses to everyone...

Meryl xx

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


So as a self confessed Harry Potter addict this was a big weekend for me. My friend Katrine couldn’t go to see the film until Sunday, and although my inner nerd wanted to be at the midnight showing my grown up persona was able to take control and book tickets for Sunday at 7:30pm.

To be honest it was the books I fell in love with. The films are fantastic and visually wondrous, and you can tell that the splitting of the last film was more a desire to get it right than a money grab, but the books are where it started and ended for me. J K Rowling was the reason I wanted to write, she was the reason I wanted to read, for the 12th and 13th years of my life she helped me realize the power of words, the transformability of sentencing. She showed me that even though I couldn’t craft, or draw, or make a bloody money box in tech. I could still be wonderfully creative. She taught me that I could paint with people’s imaginations instead of with a paintbrush.

That being said, the movie was great. I think we take for granted how much of a film is taken up by establishing characters and that in this, the 7th film in a series, they don’t even have to devote the first few minutes to who these people are or what they are up to. They haven’t had to draw an audience in, or pander to those not in the know. They whole heartedly exclude those who haven’t seen the previous films or read the books simply because they are far and few between. Their theatre seats are filled with fans ready to both adore and abhor the material. They are about to be judged on every aspect of the translation from book to film, their work will be reveled for its similarities but scolded for its change, no matter how integral it may be to telling the story via a different medium.

All in all their seats are filled with people who feel connected to this story, who like myself have invested themselves in Harry Potter since they were also 11 years old. The successes of the films aren’t simply due to the huge fan following of the books, the success of the films are in the films themselves. J K Rowling wrote intelligent, plot driven, exquisitely told tales of three young people facing a world of danger and so it is no surprise that the films become magical, mystical blockbuster sellers. Nothing J.K.Rowling wrote was fluff, nothing had no purpose, so much so that in order to do her final book justice the movie moguls had to split this one two ways.

They were right; the first one encompasses everything it needs to. Better yet it does the book justice by pausing on the banality of trying to fulfill a mission when you have no idea where to start. Even when I read the book I felt the frustration of trying to embark on a huge mission when you don’t know what to do, and rather than run from one huge battle scene to the next, the movie makers (now given the luxury of two films) were able to rest on how helpless and useless the unlikely heroes must have felt.

I was surprised at my sadness at loosing characters, that even the knowledge of what was about to occur couldn’t stop me feeling some sort of loss as these characters give their lives for one another. Rowling was never afraid of loosing a character, because by the end they were all so three dimensional and important. You felt the hurt and the pain but you were also able to watch these characters survive the losses and move on. I once heard JK Rowling say in an interview, it is so easy to kill of a character because everything for them is done and it is over, that it is so much harder to suffer their loss and continue your life. That rebuilding one’s life takes more courage than ending it. She, as always, was right.

To bring the sycophantic rant to an end, go watch the film, or better yet go re-read the book. It is worth the money, it is worth the time, and it’s sure as hell is worth the effort.

Love to you all

Meryl xx

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sci- Finally

So people always say that necessity is the mother of invention, which is very true, but if necessity is the mother of invention then imagination has got to be its maternal aunt or at very least its second cousin.

The coolest thing about being around in the present (as opposed to living in the past) is that all the crazy sci fi inventions that people dreamed up in fiction are being brought into actuality.

I have composed a list of a few that just seem mindbogglingly cool.

The Invisibility Cloak. - Harry Potter managed to get his hands on one of these bad boys, in fact he had in his possession the only real invisibility cloak in the world, well perhaps until now.

‘Scientists in the UK have demonstrated a flexible film that represents a big step toward the "invisibility cloak" made famous by Harry Potter.The film contains tiny structures that together form a "metamaterial", which can, among other tricks, manipulate light to render objects invisible.’

Self Tying Shoelaces – Marty Mcfly was mostly concerned about getting himself back to the future before he paradoxically was never born, but he was able to stop long enough to try on the Doc’s self tying, auto adjusting Nike Trainers and now Nike are patenting a pair that do exactly that.

Teleportation – So ok you might now believe me on this one, and we aren’t exactly close to beaming up Scottie but teleportation does exist.

‘The leaps in teleportation technology lie in the transfer of quantum information: where information is transferred (or teleported) from one quantum system to another. For example, take a pair of photons that have identical spin, and separate them. If you adjust the spin of one, the other, through the teleportation of quantum information, will simultaneously adopt the adjustment. The maximum teleportation distance achieved so far is 16km’

Hologram messaging – ‘Help me OB-Wan’ It worked for princess Leia and in the not to distant future it will work for you too, hopefully you won’t need a slightly retro beeping garbage-can robot to deliver it for you.

‘At its heart is a new plastic screen material that will record 3D holographic images time and time again, every two seconds. In the set up described in Nature, 16 cameras recorded 2D images of objects and people from multiple angles That information was then sent to another location using a computer connection.
At the remote site, a laser was used to "print" the visual information on to the new photosensitive polymer. The 3D image composed of the 16 perspectives decays naturally, but the laser can write the next "frame" before it completely disappears.’

I find it all very cool, but to be fair I am both a Sci-Fi fan and a techno-geek. It’s amazing how anyone can just dream something up and someone out there will figure out a way to make it work. There is just no way of knowing how amazingly cool the future is going to look. It’s very exciting

Hope you are all well

Much Love Meryl x

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Striking News

They have replaced Paul the octopus - with Paul the octopus II (that's right, the second).

Here is the article my mum sent me

Cheeky right, replace old Paul with a younger and to be fair cuter looking octo-baby.

Is nothing sacred?