Sunday, 9 January 2011

Heroics 101

Ah, London.  Still too noisy, too crowded, too filthy.  But I was glad to be back at work last week.  We have a new Big Boss now as a result of the huge changes taking place across our Department, so it will be interesting to see how things change under his leadership. 

It was a short week, what with last Monday being a Bank Holiday, but even so by Friday lunchtime I was KNACKERED.  And that was after two days working at home, and only two where I had to travel to the office.  The trains were pleasantly under-crowded, I guess a lot of people were still on holiday.  Monday will be different. 

There has been a new and delightful addition to the usual carriage-full of exhausted and grumpy commuters, though.  I shall call him Adenoid Man.  He sleeps the entire way to London, mouth agape, snorting and gruntling to himself in his own little private dreamworld for two hours.  If I ever have to sit next to him, there WILL be a recording made, I promise.  And photographs. Well, if you fall asleep on public transport, what do you expect?  Honestly. 

I'm sitting in my study this afternoon with the window open, blue sky, sunshine and birds singing.  It's like a little foretaste of spring in between the cold and rain of January.  Lovely.  There's no sign of any of the Spring bulbs coming up in the garden yet, I expect the snow and ice of December impeded them.  Another few weeks though, hopefully, and there will be crocuses.  Crocii?  Croca?

Anyhoo, it won't be long before we get some flowers making an appearance.

In other news:  I made a cake yesterday.  First cake I've made in about ten months, I think.  I bought myself a cook book and decided to try out one of the recipes.  I made the ginger and marmalade loaf, and it was marvellous.   Mr WithaY had been out shooting all day (one cartridge fired, nothing hit, not a good day) so when he got home he was cold and a bit grumpy; a nice cup of tea and a bit of cake was just the ticket. 

God, I'm so British.

The success of that recipe has encouraged me to have a go at some of the others, so I will probably make another cake next weekend. 

In not entirely unrelated news, I think I've put on about 5 pounds since my last trip to the slimming group, waaaaay back at the end of November.  In my defence, I had a month of Black Lung, and then Christmas, so I will go along in a positive frame of mind next week ready to start again.  I'm still 2 stone lighter and 2 dress sizes smaller than I was this time last year.  Onwards and upwards.

Also, Mr WithaY presented me with my Christmas present this week.  It is (and I am sorry if this repulses you) the official companion book to the new World of Warcraft Cataclysm expansion pack.  Yes, I know, I know.  Shut up.  I was thrilled. 

He still maintains that we agreed not to do Christmas gifts.  I have no recollection of any such agreement.  I have taken the precaution of noting my birthday on the calendar later this month, and have casually mentioned several time that we ARE doing birthday presents.  Just to be on the safe side, you understand.

I've been reading some more pulp adventure books on my iPhone on the train this week.  Edgar Rice Burroughs' science fiction, to be exact.  My word but it's formulaic.  I can't decide if it's formulaic because it's derivative, or because it is what everyone else copied.

Either way, I think I boiled the basics down as follows:

1)  Hero is a strapping Earthman who has found himself on an alien planet, Mars or Venus probably. Meets and falls for gorgeous high-ranking local bird.  Probably a princess. 

2)  Hero and bird embroiled in complicated and unconvincing mishap which forces them to flee the city in a flying machine.  No other people on the alien planet should have flying machines, or if they do, theirs are outclassed by the Earthman's.  Oh, plus the Earthman has a weapon that nobody else has, which allows him to mow them down in their dozens without risk of injury to himself or his bird.  Insert partonising paragraph about how bird is eventually trained to use either the weapon or to fly the aircraft semi-competently here. 

3)  Tedious and idiotic adventures follow, usually as a result of the Earthman's own stupidity.  This should entail trying to travel back to safety, seeing a city down below, and deciding to go and take a closer look despite the protestations of his bird and/or any other assorted companions he has acquired.  Flying machine is then somehow lured down or incapacitated by missile fire due to crap piloting or flat disregard of common sense. 

4)  Earthman and companions all imprisoned and thrown into Pits.  Insert horrible and detailed descriptions of natives and their vile cannibalistic/torturing/human sacrificing behaviour, sometimes with gratuitous sexual typecasting here.  There may well be an unflattering description of males of another species who are not "manly" enough. 

5)  Unlikely series of coincidences and serendipity allows Earthman and companions to escape.  During long-winded escape, hero and his companions must do at least 3 of the following:
  • find long-lost city now ruled by hideous monsters
  • uncover huge assassination plot
  • fight alien tigers
  • encounter wise but dying creature
  • encounter vile but redeemable creature
  • spurn the love of beautiful but unprincipled woman
  • reunite ruler of city with heir, presumed dead all these years
  • discover hidden treasure
  • explore parts of the world nobody else has ever discovered
  • find missing civilisation
Repeat at least five times per book. 

I don't think I'll read any more.

Not a patch on Conan. 

1 comment:

Ventristwo said...

Your location is roughly 51 N. latitude, mine is 40N and the emergence of crocus is expected where you are... We have a good two months more of desolate winter. Probably it's because we are 60 miles from the US Atlantic coastline.