Posted by: miss cellany | March 13, 2006


Dentist’s and doctors waiting rooms are the only places it is possible to read trashy women’s magazines without feeling guilty. You know that in picking something up like Hello! no one is going to make any kind of assumption about you or your reading habits. Unfortunately my dentist’s waiting room is well stocked with National Geographic circa 1986 – 93. Dilemma. While I’m waiting to get my face covered in a fine mist of my own spit and water, do I educate myself with 20 year old quality or do I delve into the messiness of some celebrity’s latest marriage fiasco caught on camera by the paparazzi albeit about 18 months out of date…Dentist’s waiting rooms are pretty unreal places. They don’t have clocks. Time stands still to the whine of the dentist’s drill and the sotto chatter of the receptionist on the phone to someone who is not a patient. And even though the weeping fig tree in the corner is not fake, it never grows. Spooky.

My doctor’s waiting room is another matter altogether. They’ve just moved into a new building and the old system of a plastic number being give to each patient has been replaced. Instead of burying yourself in mindless magazine pap you now must watch the screen on the wall in case your name comes up. Now, I think this system is bad. Not only am I deprived of my magazine reading, my name is up there for everyone to see. I’m waiting for the day when not only is my name up there but also the exact nature of my visit, MISS CELLANY TO NURSE THINGUMMY WHATSIT CONSULTING ROOM 5 FOR SMEAR TEST PLEASE.
Bring back the numbers and the confusion over who’s got number 8. Much more civilised.

Posted by: miss cellany | March 11, 2006

some people don’t know when to be grateful

check out the article on Sir David Hare at

if I had my portrait done by Paula Rego I wouldn’t be this churlish about it!

Posted by: miss cellany | March 10, 2006

1999 booker book/going anon

just finished reading Disgrace by J M Coetzee
I’m baffled why it won the booker in 1999. It’s such an odd book. It’s almost like two novelas stitched together in an almost half hearted way. I was drawn into it enough to carry on to the end but I didn’t find it a satisfying read. The main point of it, the lead character’s daughter’s decisions and reactions to her predicament did not ring true. I felt it was a device to hang an idea on rather than a story that made sense in itself. Remove the characters outside of post 1997 South Africa and place them somewhere else without that unique political backdrop and what happens? It doesn’t work. Some people might argue that that is the whole point, but I don’t like reading a novel where I’m so obviously being given a message. The character motivation needs to be believable and I just didn’t think it was at all. You’ll notice I’m not giving anything away here about the plot. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s reading about a book that I’ve not read, only to have the whole thing spoiled.

for a while I had my real name up on one of my blogs. this was ok, someone I knew but hadn’t told I had a blog found my blog by googling my name. this throws up all kinds of weirdness for me, given who the person is and the fact that he never said, oh by the way, miss cellany, I found your blog and I really dig it and I go and look every night. thing was, I had a site meter that showed the referring url and his location so I could see that he was googling my name every time instead of bookmarking my blog which is disorganized and lazy. now that I know he’s going straight to it though I have decided to go incognito again. Do you know how tricky it is to get yourself OFF a google search? It was still throwing my name up with my blog, even though I’d changed stuff. Ah yes, because google likes to make a stash of everything. So the answer? At the moment I have not posted on the blog for a week, made my profile unavailable, removed my name from the blog and then deleted the original blog, then created it again with a new account and a new user name. Yes I lost all my previous posts, I could have put them all in but it is the kind of blog that is a bit like a chalkboard. I put stuff in and then wipe it off to make room for new stuff.
So if my friend wants to see my blog now, he’ll have to remember the url, or send me an email asking for a link.
he and I go back a long way. it’s gratifying to my ego that even after millenia, he likes to look at a blog by me.

Posted by: miss cellany | March 9, 2006


yesterday was international women’s day and non-smoking day. well I don’t smoke anyway and I’m not sure what international women’s day means to me any more. as a student it meant putting up giant poems and banners all over the place, celebrating womens’ creative achievements amongst lots of other things but now it seems almost irrelevant. perhaps this is sad.
yesterday I made a page for this blog but I am miffed that its category is stuck as uncategorized and I can’t change it. maybe it’s something to do with the browsers I use. I used both and neither give me the option of categories at all. Oh well. If you are interested in dreaming, check out my dreaming page entitled, “what did you dream about last night?”

I spent the entire morning reading the paper when I should have been hard at work. However I did read a very interesting article about a new vaccine for multiple sclerosis being developed by a company based in Texas, US. The vaccine is now under trial.

here’s the gist of it:
Blood is taken from the MS patient
then the myelin-damaging immune cells are separated and multiplied in a dish
the cells are then irradiated to make them non-replicating
these non-replicating cells are injected back into the patient. Researchers hope that these cells make the immune system attack myelin-damaging cells, thereby halting progression of the disease.
It’s early days of course, and presumably the earlier it is implemented after diagnosis, the better. It’s an interesting approach though.

Posted by: miss cellany | March 8, 2006

finding the perfect fit

right. day two and I’ve been through a few designs already. Just now I tried the Hemingway one in white, because black backgrounds make my eyes buzz, but I still didn’t like it. It looked like a badly laid out newspaper. It would probably work better for one post per day. I’ve tried the one with the calendar and all the different themes in the top bar… I liked that – but it was either too light or too yellow. Pink? yeuch. Green girls? Nope not me. Grass? Well I like nature but it looks like an advert for yogurt…
the one with the maroon side bar is nice but I’m smacking my face up against the monitor here just rying to read the tiny print…

whoah, long day. long day interspersed with trying to find the perfect template for miss cellany.
Quite liked ‘blix’, but the space for different pages was too cramped. 8/10
“Occadia” got 9/10 originally, but then where was the comment option on my new dreaming page, huh? Nope.
So I’m in the one with the red pen on top. For now. 9.5/10 for “Rubric”

Posted by: miss cellany | March 7, 2006

up down up up

I read something in a spanking new book about evolution recently that mentioned something called melody something website(sorry can’t remember it) that would identify any tune by your indication of high and low notes UUDDUDU etc. Yeah right, it gave me the same silly tune for every combination I put in, and I am musical, I can hum. I can sing. I know my highs from my lows. humbug. It’s probably a good thing that I can’t remember the url or you’d try it and get frustrated and it’s better just to hum away anyway.

the piece in the book was talking about growth rings in trees, by the way.

Posted by: miss cellany | March 7, 2006


Sometimes you just don’t want to do it. You’re too cold. The space you sit in is too damn cold and your shoulders hunch over and your fingers are almost numb as they patter over the keypad. Patter patter. You sniff and fetch another cup of something. Tea, more tea. It’s beginning to fur up on your teeth and make you jittery but you drink it anyway.

then back to the work.


back to the work.
tweak a bit here, tweak a bit there. change this bit, change that bit. god, you want to change all of it. you want to rip it all out. You don’t even dare think how many years hard grind, hard graft this represents. Sometimes you take swathes away. Simply swathes, cut out of the body, and you tell yourself that the body is stronger for it. And you pace around and

burn your mouth, and think about how the thing SHOULD be, how it shouldn’t be this sloppy thing after so long. You should stop telling yourself it’s so sloppy. It has isolated fantastic parts and a lot of other parts which are not. Which need attention. Full attention. Each sodding sentence needs microsurgery


Posted by: miss cellany | March 7, 2006

Keeping the light house

I have been reading some of the Jeanette Winterson website. After finishing her latest novel very quickly, I thought I would see what the woman had to say.
In one article from Le Monde in 2002, she is quoted as saying that “ genuine artists” always end up attempting to change established forms, and that people who write in a more conventional way ie, Novels, are reproducing the past out of laziness. “…it meant something in the nineteenth century, the weaving of characters around a story with a beginning a middle and an end, but now…”

This kind of thinking – this kind of blinkered self-aggrandisement – it reminds me of a certain kind of art student; that brashness coupled with an arrogance which makes the rest of us recoil and want to distance ourselves.

The parts of her novel, Lighthouse Keeping, that I enjoyed were the parts which most closely resembled the traditional form of the novel. The other parts I read to get to the parts which I enjoyed. I felt the novel would have been more successful if she had dared to ignore her ego a bit more.

The thing about Jeanette Winterson though, is that she DOES do characters and story very well when she chooses to. But I get the impression from reading her, that it is something she is battling against, this human desire to tell a story with a beginning, middle and an end, however obliquely she might approach it. With Lighthouse Keeping, I really had the impression that here was a good novel struggling to get out of its trappings, out of its pretension of trying to present itself as something which was pushing the envelope.

The so-called hybrid literary space mentioned in the Le Monde piece, likened to a collage is more like a scrapbook of ideas, (It reminds me of that ‘6os cut and paste thing and I can’t remember the name of it.)

The thing about the ‘traditional’ form of the novel, its appeal, to people who read (and write) novels I think, is that it taps into something instinctive, something basically human. Fashions within that form will continue to come and go, but I think it[the traditional novel] will survive. I would strongly contest Winterson’s notion that people write in a particular way because they are “lazy”. It implies that writing a novel with a beginning, middle, and end is the easiest thing in the world, which of course it isn’t. The way you write and the form you choose is always personal, but you shouldn’t let it obliterate and/or alienate your reader. Otherwise you may as well just write a journal and hide it under your bed.

And I think it is quite telling that on her website, Winterson refuses to discuss the books she reads and enjoys because the information would be taken down and “used against me”.

Posted by: miss cellany | March 7, 2006


Aubergine on Toast

sounds pretty horrible, doesn’t it? This was something I made the other day (actually, it was the day before I got this nasty cold/flu thing) but it works really well. It’s a bit like something you’d eat in a health food bar, or in a cafe that doesn’t serve fried eggs, you know the sort of thing. It tasted like someone else made it, which when you’re stuck inside with no prospect of a fancy day out or even an almost fancy day out, this is the sort of thing to make. If I was entertaining a young man and wanted to see whether he was worthy of my attention, this is what I would cook. Because, frankly, it’s a really odd thing and I’d get a kick out of his reaction to it.

Aubergine (okay, egg plant to those across the pond) On Toast

steam slices of aubergine for 10 minutes
fry slices in olive oil with freshly grated ginger, sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds and slosh in some soy sauce and cook for a couple of minutes. put your slices on some toast and grate a bit of cheese on top and grill for a while.

then eat it. it is obviously much nicer on good quality bread with depth. using sliced white would be stupid.


Posted by: miss cellany | March 7, 2006

unidentified text

do you ever get unidentified texts? I mean text messages on your phone that are not signed. I got one of those this morning. I kind of feel sorry for whoever did it, on two counts. first, it might not have been meant for me, so whoever was supposed to get the text, didn’t. Mislaid texts can cause havoc with some people. second, the message itself was sad. I mean sad in the sense of O god, get a life, kind of sad.

on to the rest of my post. this is about the sixth or seventh or maybe even eighth blog that I’ve set up in the last nine months. miss cellany is going to do her best to keep this one going in a regular kind of way, and will try not to delete posts or delete the blog. miss cellany is not going to reveal her identity. ever. miss cellany is female though. age? it might become apparent, as time goes on. but you don’t need to know. miss cellany is rambling. that’s allowed. it’s in her nature.
excuse me while I lace up my boots and knock off the old mud.

last night was horrible. I spent it being hot and cold, shivering and sweating at the same time with an agonising ball of blockage in my right sinus which spread an acute pain all over the right side of my face, up behind my eyeball and down into my jaw, making me worry at 4 am that I might have an abcess in my tooth. bursting for a pee I creaked downstairs (the stairs creak) and took two painkillers and let two gallons of pee out before shivering and sweating my way back up to try and find a position where the sinus might drain itself. try sleep sitting up. it isn’t easy. this has been going on for days and days. of course you worry about all kinds of crap when you’re in this state at 4 am. you start worrying that you’ve got bird flu, or that you are succumbing to some misdirected curse, that some other happy idiot is managing to avoid. you start wondering why none of your family has got this lurgy – it must be significant. So you lie awake, wondering what the significance is.

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