My reading goals for 2016 are: mysteries and histories. 

I love mysteries so much, stand alone and those in a series. I want to catch-up with my favorite detectives and if that means a year of not-so guilty pleasures then so be it! Thanks to Hamilton the Musical I’m interested in learning more about American history, so those are on the list too. I think biographies and histories will be a bit more hit and miss. 

I kicked off January with “The Impossible Dead” by Ian Rankin. I’ve fallen big time for Rebus again, and I can tolerate Malcolm Fox. Actually, Fox is growing on me and I love what Rankin has done with Rebus-Clarke-Fox dynamic. It’s all good. 

The rest of January was spend on Ron Chernow’s 800 page tome on Alexander Hamilton. Dear god I love Alexander Hamilton. This is such a good book. It’s a cliche but history is ALIVE on those pages and I learnt so much. I was sad when I finished it. Sad not to be reading about Hamilton at my 5am “me” time slot. (Fresh from reading Hamilton I went to the UK to ready to proselytize and you know what Brits aren’t as interested in our founding fathers as I am. What gives?)

On the audiobook front I finally finished Diana Gabaldon ‘Written in my Own Hearts Blood’. Roller coaster of emotion and tied in nicely with Hamilton, and I need another Jamie and Claire hit. I squeezed in a quickie mystery with Jacqueline Winspear ‘Leaving Everything Most Loved’ – Maise Dobbs I have missed you! This was a transitional story for Dobbs and I was glad that some of the characters/storylines were finally being wound up and new things are on the horizon. 

Come February I was in the UK with Zoey and Nomi, and I had high hopes to read all of  ‘Team of Rivals’ BUT as gripping as Doris Kearns Goodwin book is I needed something lighter to get me through 5 weeks of solo parenting. So I threw myself into Agatha Christie’s ‘They Do It With Mirrors’, ‘Saints of the Shadow Bible’ by Rankin and started another Maisie Dobbs mystery. I barely listened to my audiobook in February, when I had a chance to listen to something I blasted out Hamilton because Brits you need to embrace Alexander. When I’m back next year I expect EVERYONE to be word perfect. 

Hoping March will be the month I dig in to Lincoln, and perhaps go back to Washington and Jefferson. 

Drawing skateboards

Posted: 08/07/2014 in Art
Tags: , ,

We spent a large chunk of today outside: playing, drawing and football! It’s warm and not humid at the moment so embracing all the time outside.


Whilst I was working on my Latin they got on with drawing. It was interesting seeing how their drawings developed through copying and helping each other. Zoey told me she was drawing a skateboard:


Nomi decided she would draw skateboards too. One for her, Zoey and Daddy. She outlined and then colored them in.


Both girls were happily looking at each other’s drawings, and are not in the least bit bothered by copying at this age. Zoey went to draw again and Nomi told her it needed four wheels so Zoey drew these skateboards:


It’s really nice seeing them work together yet separately.

This is the first time I’ve watched network tv live in forever. Commercials – how quaint! It’s like the 90s. I’ll just nip to Central Perk for a coffee.

I was pretty excited about ‘Agents of Shield’ as I’ve enjoyed Agent Coulson in all the films but you know what – Coulson works best as a (quirky) straight man against Thor and Tony Stark, not so much against a cast of straight men and women. Oh I know they are hinting at “dark stuff” but he needs more quirk to play against. Unless… he is the quirk?

Overall, the pilot was just too vanilla for me. It felt like a safe version of all the genre shows I’ve enjoyed that were cancelled over the years:

Agents of [enter agency rouge or otherwise] travel the [world/continental US] saving [mutants/superheroes/mortals].

It’s not Continuum. It’s not Alphas. It’s not Fringe. It’s not a lot of other shows i care(d) but it’s tied to Marvel so it has legs.

Alex’s feed back was why do the geeky nerds have to be geeky nerds at all. Think about Peter in Fringe. Deep stuff.

Here’s my thoughts: what if Joss Wheldon peaked at Buffy. Was I the only one who felt like The Cabin In The Woods could have been an extended Buffy episode.

Book 1 of the Cambridge Latin Course landed on my doorstep over the weekend, and so begins my adventure of learning Latin. Self-directed learners of the world unite!

I’m going to try and work through a chapter a week but we shall see how much Latin the Cylonettes will let me study.


In the last two years my TV watching has dropped off somewhat dramatically (and don’t even speak to me about films), and of the many shows I simply didn’t have the capacity for was Doctor Who.

Now, I loved the reboot. Absolutely loved it.

Christopher Eccleston – loved him.

David Tennant – loved him (despite him reminding me of an ex-boss).

Matt Smith – loved him but didn’t love the plot lines. Somewhere in the swampy swamp that was the whole River Song-Amelia Pond saga I just stopped caring. So I’m a season or two behind in Matt Smith Who mythology but I still keep an eye out for Who stuff on Twitter so I was following along with the announcement of the new doctor. Would Who be a woman. Would Who be black or another ethnicity. Would Who be a number of people I’d never heard or and didn’t fancy googling.

The new Doctor is Peter Capaldi which is fantastic because I know who he is. He’s a joy to watch that is who he is!  He is also an Oscar winner which must be a first in Who-land, and played a transvestite on Prime Suspect. Which I reckon is another first.  (You know who else was in PS? Ralph Fiennes. A very young and cocky Fiennes.)

If anything is going to lure me back to the land of Daleks and Cybermen it’s Capaldi. It’s a bit like Roger Allam on Endeavour. He pretty much just wears a hat and lurks about. Coming to the forefront when Morse needs encouragement or a slap on the wrist. His mere presence makes everything better. Patrick Stewart on TNG is another example. Can you imagine TNG without Sir Patrick? If Riker had be in charge the crew would have been permanently stationed at Risa for research.

Now whilst I’ve watched pretty much everything Capaldi has been in I’m guessing most people haven’t so here are my favorites:

  • Local Hero   – a quiet film about a proposed American business invasion of a small Scottish coastal village
  • Dangerous Liaisons  – yes, he was in this as a servant to Malkovich but he speaks and has a subplot
  • Neverwhere – geeky geeky geeky nerdy heaven
  • The Crow Road  – gloriously dark drama
  • The Thick of It – fuckety fuckety sweary goodliness
  • In The Loop – more sweary goodliness on a bigger budget with TRAVEL

Capaldi has of course already been in Who and Torchwood if you are keep track but since it’s all pretend I don’t think that matters too much, right?

Holy moly I did not expect it to take TEN MONTHS before I would update my blog rather than the family blog but hey that is life with two babies. (Not much life just lots of babies.)

So what am I going to be watching this fall well not much. Time is really limited so no watching what ever I want. I’ve dropped so many shows as I’ve either lost interest or don’t have the time to invest emotionally. Sure I’d love to give Game of Thrones a go but not yet. So it’s quality over quantity for the next few years and then lots and lots of box sets…

Sunday: The Good Wife and Homeland

Both shows left the viewer hanging at the end of their respective seasons. Will Kalinda shoot the shit out of her ex and will Carrie remember anything post electr0-shock treatment?

Monday: No Reservations/Layover, Castle and Revolution

I love me some Bourdain so will continue on with No Reservations slash Layover till he packs up for CNN (curious to see what they do with the show – hasn’t he been everywhere?), and he also has a new show with Nigella that is filming in LA at the mo. Curious but will his sardonic wit be too much for NBC? Castle is on the cusp as I am growing weary of procedural crime shows (shocker!) I don’t even bother to DVR just catch it thru On Demand if there is nothing else on. Revolution is new and by Eric Kripet who steered the first 5 seasons of Supernatural (if only they had ended then!) it’s about electricity stopping working and what happens. I assume the Amish take over, right? I’ve got one episode on the DVR so will give it a whirl.

Tuesday: Nothing

We dropped NCIS last year as it’s just too samey-samey.

Wednesday: Nothing

This is the new night for Supernatural but I dumped it at the end of last season as the plot had got too convoluted even for me and it should have ended seasons ago.

Thursday: Last Resort, The Big Bang Theory and Scandal

The Last Resort has submarines so I might be able to entice Alex to watch it; we are one season behind on TBBT so will be DVR-ing and catching up, and Scandal was trashy fun with a good cliff hanger.

Friday: Fringe

It’s the final season! Very excited to see how everything wraps up but if they pull the same stunt that X-Files did with the dullest final episodes every I will weep real tears.

Saturday: Date night!

Watch a movie via Netflix Instant or iTunes

So that’s it. The least amount of TV I have ever watched. The Cylonettes better get early admission to MIT for all this TV sacrificing.

I’ve had the lyrics to ‘Soft Kitty‘ stuck in my head all day. Not really that surprising given that the last few months have been devoted to watching the first and second seasons of The Big Bang Theory. I cannot stress how much we love Sheldon et al.

I started dipping into BBT last season but then I decided to watch from the first season onwards, and Alex started to watch it with me. This is huge as Alex is really picky about what TV he watches but somehow a non-mean comedy about physicists who love sci-fi and pop culture tickled his fancy. Also, how awesome a character is Penny? I love how she holds her own against the boys, and doesn’t let them get away with any crap.

I started teasing Alex that he was a little bit like Sheldon or as I like to call him “Sheldon-lite”. For a starter Alex gets all the physics jokes, and I mean all of them. (It’s great Alex is able to put his physics degree to use in this manner.) Then there is the way Sheldon corrects and/or offers additional information to conversations. Try watching a documentary with Alex on pretty much any subject barring the arts (though he’s got a good grasp of Classics now) and you’ll notice that at some point he’ll start pointing things out before the commentary has a chance or he’ll end up correcting them. I love it. LOVE IT! I married a polymath who is also good at sports – I win!

There is also an “other worldliness” quality about Sheldon that forces him to question many social customs/norms that most of us take for granted, and whilst Alex isn’t totally like that he is a little bit. Because Alex grew-up in Hong Kong in a different culture he sometimes has a different view of social customs/norms (see our stand-off over middle names) and he can see where Sheldon is coming from on many issues, e.g. the circular nature of gift giving.

Then there is the Sheldon look or stare, and there is a great laundry scene that sums it up. Penny comes upon Sheldon in the laundry room and starts to help him fold his clothes. She picks up his socks and rolls over the tops to pair them into a ball, and Sheldon gives her this look as if she is mad and un-balls them and folds them over. I’ve been there in that exact scenario with that look from Alex when I rolled up his socks to be useful. I believe I may have even had a lecture on benefits of folding them to extent the life of the elastic in the ankle.

One thing Alex definitely doesn’t have is Sheldon’s social awkwardness and his love of routine (e.g. sitting in the same spot, eating the same food on certain days). In some ways I’m more like that part of Sheldon so perhaps between the both of us we make a whole “Sheldon”.