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I thought you guys might like to see a picture taken at lilleshall, as an example of what we got up to

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I must have spotted a naked girl on the cieling…maybe

straange new world

Yesterday, I went to see my mates Rich and Michelle from hebden. It was great to see them again,, although I must have surprised them greatly, appearing, as it were, from out of the blue.

Anyway, while surfing the net, I stumbled across this article about Saturn’s moon Enceladus this morning. Apparently, its polar regions appear hotter than it’s equator. How odd.

” High-resolution imagery shows the southern polar region to be relatively smooth – usually a good indicator of recent activity – but cut by a number of long, dominant cracks.”

‘ere, does this mean it has a hot arse?

cricket

Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more, or seal up the wall with English dead.

If we lose the next test match, I’m officially beginning the campaign to bring Australia back under rule from London, just as we did with the United states.

who’s with me?

the great pizza hunt

Quite what the waiters in portofino made of me, I don’t know, but they acquitted themselves magnificently.

I better explain. In alsager, there’s a place called papa’s, which does really good take away pizza. At university, I often get bill to order me a pizza, and I’ve developed a taste for pizza from proper pizzerias. Believe me, the frozen variety from Tesco simply doesn’t compare. Well, today, I had a hankering for a pizza, so I trundled down into town in my wheelchair, in search of junk food.

But I couldn’t find any. The only pizza outlets weren’t open, or looked rather sleazy. I took a look at the caf in the open-air market, and thought ‘better not’. On the way down, I asked the Italian gentleman in Portofino – the town’s one good Italian restaurant – whether he knew of any good Italian places.

‘Well, we open at 12, and we do pizza’. He said. Twelve noon was in forty minutes, and I thought portofino was too nice for me to eat alone in. I make a mess, so I continued my pizza hunt elsewhere. In the market, I met up with grandma, who combed my hair, but I thought better of eating there. The other pizzerias in town did not open ’till five, so at twelve, I rolled back to portofino, expecting to get a pizza to eat out – perhaps at a picnic table in the park.

However, before I could say anything, I was invited up the step and to a table. I had already selected the pizza I wanted from the menu in the window, so I asked for it, and a drink. The people there know me and my family, as we sometimes eat there, so it was not as if I was a random cripple off the street. I was treated to the respect anyone would expect, the waiters holding my cup for me as I drank. The pizza came, and I ate it with my hands as respectably as possible, and having got the waiter’s permission to do so.

When I had eaten, I asked for the bill. It came, and I told the waiter where to get my money, insisting he take a tip. It occurs to me that I would not have had the gall to do such a thing just a short wile ago, but I feel I can do anything now, even eat at posh, if quiet, restaurants. I feel that this past year has given me the confidence to do such things.

I probably won’t eat pizza there every week, but I enjoyed myself. I sometimes have romantic visions of writers as romantic beings sipping Chianti or absinth in caf corners. Well, I may not have been sipping Chianti – it would have gone to my head – but I now see that vision can pertain to me too. I am not on the periphery of society, but wholly within it.

If it lets me make such steps, perhaps I should get hungry for pizza more often.

rock paper scissors

I’ve always had a problem with manual dexterity, so, as a child, certain games were ruled out. No doubt we have all played rock paper scissors: as a kid, my scissors were always pretty indistinguishable from paper, and I found playing the game hard. However, now the internet has the solution. Its pretty cool, but it could get annoying.

After about 5 seconds!

animal testts

My little brother Luke studies Bioinformatics at UMIST. This is a little heard of scientific field which aims to model living organisms using computers, so in part it aims to replace or supplement drugs testing on animals. I think this is a good area to study: theoretically, you should be able to get better results from computers.

However, there will always need to be testing on living non-human animals. Computers are open to human error because they are programmed by humans. Animal testing ha been, and remains, the best way to test drugs, especially in the latter stages of testing. Thus, this type of experimenting needs to continue if we are to be sure that the drugs of the future are perfectly safe.

This is not to say I do not have sympathy for the animals involved. Here we enter an ethical and philosophical minefield: first, do these beasts feel pain, or object to what is being done to them? They can’t communicate with us, so how do we know? We could try to handle this in terms of brain size and functionality,, but then we would need to set a cut-off point between feeling and unfeeling, which would essentially be arbitrary. Humans, the varied lot we are, have a range of cognitive capacities: those described as having PMLD are no less human than I am, and I would hope we would all puke if anyone suggested using such people in experiments. The case has been made elsewhere that animals have the abilities of human babies, and thus should be awarded the rights of such.

We have no way of knowing the capacities of animals for certain, and given that the safety of our medicines is at stake, I think such tests should continue. We have no choice but to lay aside our ethical concerns for the time being. I am certainly against the campaigners currently terrorising laboratories which use non-human animals: they are hugely misguided, and let emotion stand in the way of logic. Scientists today issued a declaration that they would use alternative means where possible, but the protestors, it seems, still aren’t happy. Do they want all of medical science to halt? If they had their way, I’d have died at or shortly after childbirth, for I needed drugs once tested on animals.

Moreover, their means are deplorable. They behave like terrorists. They stole the body of a dead woman, just because of her connection to a farm which bred guinea pigs for laboratories. What is silly here is the guinea pig would not exist in it’s modern form were it not for this purpose? Where, perchance, is their natural habitat?

These people are ruled by misguided sentimentality rather than logic, and frankly I doubt most of them understand the science involved.

How totally stupid.

just aabout everything rules

Do you know, this holiday is going rather well so far. I’m watching many films, although not as much as I should ideally; I’m working through my collection of michael palin videos and dvd’s again; I’ve been going out rather a lot in mmy wheelchair, and have descovered the sunday car boot sale is good for indulging my dubious hobbies; I’ve had time to read; I’ve been able to go to alton towers and lilleshall sans parents, so hurrah for independence. Oh, dublin ruled too, and so will montreall and now dad has a new toy, the exact nature of which is probably classified, but I’m gonna have fun with it. I think it came from Q branch!

spy satelites

I know there has been much publicity on it recently, but I thought I’d try out google maps this morning… its just so cool! There isn’t much detail – you can’t use it to perve at nekkid sunbathers in their back garden – but I found my house. Go look if you haven’t already done so.

dublin

There is nothing like travelling. To experience new lands, new cultures. Brave new worlds. Like so many people before me, I have been bitten with the travel bug, and hope to remain happily infected for the rest of my days. This virus is a pandemic, and it is also ancient. It draws us to water, which once forced us into an upright position, and made us loose our body hair. In other words, I reckon there is an evolutionary advantage to itchy feet.

Perhaps I drank too much Guinness. It is so much better when drunk in it’s home town though. Especially in a pub, smoke free and full off life. When sucked through a straw, it hits the top of the mouth, and registers as bitter, but the texture is creamy and it slides down the throat as smoothly as silk. Thus it seemed to disappear far too fast.

There is far too much to tell you, were I to do it justice, my arm would ache for all the typing. As you walk through the streets of the city, ones ears are filled with music: drummers from brazil playing rhythms so complex and layered one stands and watches in awe; saxophonists playing the purest, coolest jazz; violinists playing

Bach and Mozart. Music echoes off the walls of this ancient, proud city. It issues from pub doors and windows, drawing you in to join the fun. This is probably what Irish people term ‘crack’, and I love it.

Outside the city, there is a land so beautiful that I wish I had time to explore it. We visited a national park which was amazingly adapted for wheelchair users. All the paths were tarmaced, but it had not changed the sheer beauty of the area. I could not help thinking how good it would be to take my electric wheelchair – The Defiant – a long those paths. My parents disagreed. I think they had visions of me ending up in the lake. Anyway, passing through that area, I was struck by how evocative of Tolkien everything was. Since his created languages were based partly on Gaelic, the place names reminded me of Elvish. This, of course, reminded us all of dad’s bicardi-enduced claim, many years ago, that the Irish were all elves. If this is so, then Ireland is indeed a worthy valinor. Moreover, I couldn’t help thinking how cool it would be to make fantasy films in that area.

Four days was too little time, yet I have so many cool memories of Ireland. On Wednesday night we had a fish supper that ranked among the best meals of our lifers. It was my first taste of shark, and the steak I had was phenomenal. The wine dad chose, I might add, was excellent.

Thus we all had an excellent time. It passed too quickly, and home life seems mundane. Yet it reminded me that there is a world waiting for me to explore.

And I intend to.

home sweet home

the problem with holidays is returning. i usually get home tired, achy and feeling decidedly odd. its always hot for some reason. you find your room inthe mess you left it in. oh well, at least one has the memories.

I’ll tell you all about dublin tomorrow.