Sunday 30 March 2008


Do not ork cows. It is a filthy activity and probably illegal.
Where did the word coworker come from?
At what point did it cease to matter that you do not know where to find the hyphen key on your computer?
Co-worker. A colleague. A fellow worker. Not an orker of cows.
Main Entry:
Middle English, from Latin, from com-; akin to Old English ge-, perfective and collective prefix.

I feel better now for that. Maybe that's what I'll do for a while. Have quick blogrants.
Umm. If you feel that coworker is indeed a valid word, unhyphenated, then don't try to tell me. lalala, I can't hear you... coworkers are people who ork cows:- not colleagues. Unless you are in a cow-orking syndicate. In which case I hope you are arrested soon. And taught the folly of your ways.


No. Just no. It's sick.
Yes, I'm sure your little "Tiddles" is the cleverest/cutest/prettiest cat ever to draw breath. But it's wasted on me. I don't like cats, they are, to me, furry vermin.
You will never see me post an image of a cat on this blog, unless it's to show up some aspect which cat-lovers will hate. Like the stupid ability of cats to get stuck up trees. Leave them to it, I say. When they're hungry enough, they will come down from the tree. One way or another.

P.S. Okay, I'm not quite that curmudgeonly.

Sunday 23 March 2008

I Was Never Very Good With Numbers

In fact, a lot of what, to you, might be simple mathematics, is to me a baffling confusement.
Maybe there's a numeric equivalent to dyslexia, in which case, I definitely have it.
My father, amongst his other skills, such as putting up sloping bookshelves, and hitting the lawnmower with a big hammer, had a black-belt in accountancy.
He delighted in explaining to me the difficult bits of my maths homework, in an absolutely different way to which my teachers expected me to do it. So even if I'd understood his explanation, I'd have lost marks and been treated with glowering suspicion for getting the right answer the wrong way.
The maths problems I liked involved real world problems... at what point would the two trains meet if....
Or the man digging holes whilst the other bloke was shovelling sand back in...
Or the Parrot with 3 pounds, six shillings and ninepence who wants to buy an off-peak return rail ticket from Cleckheaton to Grimsby, via Kirkwall in the Orkneys, but first has to pay off the compound interest on his ill fated investment in cuttlefish futures.
(Our school textbooks were old and surreal).
In one of those strange twists of fate, I somehow became a teacher, and was somehow qualified to teach mathematics amongst other things.
I learned more maths by teaching it and trying to stay a couple of pages ahead of my charges than I ever did as a pupil. One of the things I enjoyed discovering was that different nations use different methods to do everyday calculations. As also did people here in past times, -the elizabethans had some cunning trickery with grid squares.
So I was delighted to stumble upon this:-

Saturday 15 March 2008

Match it For Pratchett!

The headline is not mine. It was coined by Cory Doctorow, of BoingBoing. -he picked up on another blog, (Ceci N'est Pas Une Blog), and reported with that headline.
(Stop Press: Pat Cadigan, author of Ceci.. says it was a person named Steve Glover who coined the phrase. No further information.)
It caught my eye, I hope it catches yours. BoingBoing is huge, Gritinthegears is a speck of dust but maybe.... just maybe... my blogging visitors might pick up and re-use that title, and spread this idea.

Terry Pratchett, he of Discworld fame, prolific writer, creative soul, persistent advocate for orangutans, announced that he was giving a million dollars, or five hundred thousand pounds to The Alzheimers Research Trust . He recently announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, and had been stunned to find out how little official funding is given to this illness, compared with, say, cancer, or heart disease.
Pat Cadigan of Ceci N'est.... said "Hearing that, it occurred to me that if half a million of us all donated a pound to Alzheimer's research, we could match his donation and make it an even million.
So whaddaya say, guys? It's a pound. That's about 2 bucks US dollars, give or take a couple of (US) pennies. You can spare that much. Go here and make your donation. Tell them it's in honour of Terry Pratchett."

I'm not myself an avid reader of Discworld novels, I confess. The first one I read was "Truckers", and I loved it, but for some reason I never really could be bothered with the discworld series.
But every time I've seen Terry Pratchett interviewed, or read articles, or seen him in a documentary, meeting Orangutans in the forests of Borneo, I've warmed to him as a person.
All of us, however, know people who have lost family members to Alzheimers disease, and have seen people struggling with loss of their own minds.

Maybe I'll write more about that one day.
We can't fix everything. We can't fight everything. But here's a little something, and it's easy. Why not give a pound.. or two Dollars, to aid Alzheimers research.
Here's the link again: Here. Tell them its to "Match it for Pratchett".
The link I gave is in the U.K., but you could just give to a research trust in your home country if you preferred. And feel free to link, or blog using the same title.

STOP PRESS! There's now an official site!
created and administered by Chris Tregenza.

Here's an extract of the latest figures.

"Summary of Accounts as of 19/3/2008 at 15:10"

Donations via $3382

T-Shirt sales (Completed and Pending): $590

Costs (Paypal Charges): $-150.22

Total Raised via $3821.78


Doing well! Please visit there and show your support...
Don't forget to BUY THE T-SHIRT!!!!

Thursday 13 March 2008

Stormy England in March

Sennen, Cornwall.
The south-westerly pointed toe of Britain, in the gales of early march, 2008.