It’s perfect! It explains everything!

Just one more episode of House before I hit the sack… just one more.

Bah, I’m as addicted to the programme as Greg House is addicted to V… (I’m not going to type it, it’s a huge spam magnet.)

House is not a good thing to watch during an election campaign. I get urges to berate voters and attempt to wittily browbeat them. The last few days have been keeping up with the leafleting, of course, but also starting to get our first voter contact of the campaign.

First job is getting nomination papers signed. In order to stand for election, candidates have to be qualified in one or more of the following categories: on the electoral register, live in the electoral area, work in the electoral area, own land or property in the electoral area. In addition to that, those of us putting ourselves up for election can’t be insane, bankrupt or have a non-expired criminal conviction. I bet you feel relieved already.
But having qualified candidates is just the first step. Once you have the candidates, you
then have to get them nominated. To stand in any given ward, ten people who are on the electoral register in that ward have to sign a bit of paper to say you can stand.

All well in good. In most wards where we are active, there is no problem finding ten people we’ve helped or who support us. But we also have to stand candidates in areas where we are less than strong. Areas where don’t have people ready to sign your form. Areas where what you have to do is find a nice long road, with loads of people living on it, and knock on doors one by one explaining what you want. “Hello. I’m from the Lib Dems trying to get candidates on the ballot paper in your ward, but to do that I need people who live here to sign a piece of paper saying they don’t mind.”

Amazingly, some people do sign. But you do have to knock on a lot of doors to get just ten signatures.


I’ve been watching House – the medical drama with Hugh Laurie – in odd spare moments.

Are hospital beds really that amazing? They seem to be able to switch at a moment’s notice and do all sorts of things. Not only can they tilt and raise up (I could do with that. Eight years into my GERD diagnosis I’ve still to raise the head of my bed like I’m supposed to) and hold many different positions, they also have many cool attachments. Places to hang your catheter bag too.

Suddenly feel bugs crawling out of your arms? No problem, there’s slots where velcro restraints can be attached so they can tie you down. Suddenly start a seizure? “Give me suction!” (Why?!) And all those tubes – oxygen readily on tap.

The rooms around the beds all seem really well stocked, with hypodermic needles stocked with epinephrine in every drawer, and ready access to exactly the right drug the doctors needed in the middle of the emergency.

The wider hospital is staggeringly well equipped too. Dr House’s patients get access to the MRI scanner more easily than a bloody lift! I’m sure it’s the ultimate diagnostic tool but is it really that easy to get into an MRI scanner in the US? And do they really make that strange banging noise?

The MRI scanner’s the tip of the iceberg, but there are some other sweet features too that I’ve seen in just the first episodes. The Clean Room for severely immunocompromised patients. An ice bath for a fever of 105 F (bloody hell – that’s 40 deg C, no wonder she needed to get cool). And probably more things, but it’s getting late, and I should stop watching House now and go to bed.

Another fab song – from Bones

I’m watching tv out of the corner of an eye whilst editing leaflets and generating PDFs, and there was a rather lovely song in an episode of Bones. Guitar-ry, piano, sad, hummable bass line, a little like Dido, although no-one else on the internet seems to be saying that, so maybe that’s the only thing in my frame of reference.

I can’t see the stars any more living here
Let’s go to the hills where the outlines are clear
Bring on the wonder, bring on the song,
I’ve pushed you down deep in my soul for too long

It’s by Susan Enan, who doesn’t yet have an album you can buy, and isn’t on iTunes, but does have two songs up on her Myspace Music site.

You can also sign up to her “coming soon” website, and know when the first album will be ready. Latest news on Myspace is that it was being mixed in January by someone with a serious music CV.
I’ve been watching a lot of Bones lately. It caught my eye because it looked like something I’d really like – forensic procedurals like CSI, and early Patricia Cornwall are firmly in my list of favourites. I read Kathy Reichs avidly too, and this series is stars her character Dr Temperance Brennan. Or at least a version of her. And it also has the guy who played Angel. Who could ask for more?

Well, actually, in the first few episodes it seemed really clunky. Some of the invented technology and the clumsy characterisation really jarred. But as the first series progressed and the second series started, there’s a change in feeling, and it’s deliberately tugging at the heartstrings much better rather than making fun of the geeks. The extensive back story is great.

EDIT:  P’s just come in and said that if I like that Susan Enan stuff I’d like Sarah McLachlin. Then he played some, and unfortunately, and for no reason I can put my finger on, I don’t.  Bah.

“Don’t pricktease, you Russian baboon!”

I’ve been given the run of the house to myself, so I have been taking the opportunity to use the shiny new DVD player I got for Christmas – on a set of Spooks series 1 DVDs.

I haven’t managed to see any of Spooks on the TV, so I’m coming to this very late. It’s really good. Very edgy with some unexpected plot-twists.

And then, halfway through the series, enter Hugh Laurie as the MI6 agent. Is he there for light relief? It seems slightly jarring – after all the high drama, the intrigue, the unexpected and gruesome deaths, the deathly seriousness, then suddenly we have Laurie, almost in the character he used to have in Fry and Laurie. Hmmm.

Just popped over to -“Last updated 15.12.06 1000” – very reassuring. Hmm. And the site is available in Urdu, Arabic and Welsh. Eh? Pop over to MI6 – and that’s available in Spanish, Russian, French, Arabic and Chinese. In that order. No Welsh.

EDIT 04:21 – Gordon Bennett, that’s such a cliff hanger to end a series on!

Telly, telly and more telly

Well, not content with just watching University Challenge whilst we ate, we went on and watched The Choir, a programme about a thin posh bloke trying to get school kids in Northolt to sing. He was reasonably successful, but we sat here criticising his choice of music and his tactics.  Easy enough to do from the comfort of an armchair.

Then on to HIGNIFY with Rob Brydon in the chair, which was greatly amusing. And now on to to Newsnight.  I don’t think I have ever watched Newsnight from start to finish.  In my parents’ house, there’s always a scrabble to turn the programme off before the theme tune starts.  Jeremy Paxman is ever such a strange colour.

I have watched more TV on TV in the last few days than I have for years.  I tend to watch more on DVD on a computer upstairs.  Wireless laptop lets me spod from the sofa. Ideal.

University Challenge

It’s certainly the week for watching telly.
Well. I’m not sure I can concentrate on the questions, what with those extremely dishy guys on the right hand side of the Manchester team. Lavin and Elliott. Phwoar. They certainly “qualify”.

Fnarr, fnarr.