There is a top level navigation menu at the foot of the page

Seasonal stuffing


This year scheduling means our turn for hosting the big family meal falls on Christmas eve. Mrs S. did the lion's share of the cooking, facilitated by a new kitchen, more commodious than the postage stamp sized galley we've had for the past couple of years. Champagne, ice-cream,CBeebies pantomime on a loop, nut-roast, sprout and chestnut soup, mechanical penguins, musical crackers, roasted vegetables, and plenty of early presents for young Ada May to open and get over-excited about. Merry Christmas to all four of my readers!


posted Saturday, December 24, 2011 at 15:51 by cms in Ada, cooking | 4 Comments »

Flesh is weak

As if finding young me in a box wasn't enough of a memo from Father Time, I've had the "circle of life" message underlined firmly this weekend, by throwing my back out. I mean, properly out, like a sit-com old man, or a Dad from the pages of the Beano. Lifting hurts, walking hurts, sitting mostly hurts, breathing hurts, and bending over is right out. It's one of those marvellous hysterical systems, as the slightest twinge of pain induces all sorts of involuntary tensing in the frantically overcompensating muscle superstructure of my back. The lower nervous system is clear in it's mission. No harm must befall the spine. I strongly suspect that the resultant freezing and spasm makes everything significantly more painful than the original twinge would have managed on it's own, but I am not a doctor. Even though I often assure people that I am, this is actually a well-practiced lie, serving the purposes of antique stock-comedy forms.

The generational aspect of this calamity draws from the fact that I triggered the strain whilst throwing young Ada May ceilingward, in response to her requests to "play flying". Unluckily for me, the initial spasm occurred at the point of release of a throw, meaning that despite my attention being drawn to all sorts of immediate and novel spinal trauma, I still had an falling two year old to catch safely before I could collapse sobbing to the floor with my honour and dignity intact. Two year old children, I must say, are quite a bit heavier than their one year old incarnation.

The thing with back trouble, most sources assure me, is to try and persevere through it. Grit one's teeth, and carry on as much of your normal routine as you can manage. On no account admit defeat and flee to your bed rest. Rest will relax and weaken your back, and exacerbate the problem, or if you're unlucky, invent some new ones. And so I struggle forwards in embittered mimicry of my daily routine, gasping and wheezing and moaning every couple of steps, frozen in place with involuntary grimacing stuck to my face. It has taken me nearly twice as long to get to work as it ordinarily might. Negotiating St. Pancras, I find myself flooded with sympathy for anybody with genuine mobility problems. The place is a nightmare, and it's supposed to be one of London's newest, most accessible hubs. I inch my way towards the office. All my hope is invested in my fancy orthopaedic stool. Please, mighty German engineering, please do your work.

Twenty-five year old me pouts condescendingly from my home page as I update my blog. He's got nothing but contempt for broken backed old men. He's too vain and pre-occupied to worry himself with mundane things like exercise and posture. I'm starting to hate that guy a bit.

posted Monday, October 31, 2011 at 11:37 by cms in Ada, history, uncategorized | Comments Off on Flesh is weak

Holidays over

That's 2010 all done then. 2011 said alound still sounds implausibly futuristic to my ears. One more sign that you're an old man.

The 'holiday season' was surprisingly survivable. The nut roast didn't poison anybody. I doubled up the recipe quantities, and had exactly 50% left after dinner was done. The main problem I had was getting all the vegetables evenly done. There was much shuttling trays in and out of the oven, and from shelf to shelf, but everyone went away fed and uncomplaining, so I'm going to chalk that up as a success.

It turns out that having a 1 year old daughter is an excellent diversion around this time of year. Most of my time seems to have been spent chaperoning her around various relatives' houses, where she excelled in capturing the centre of attention. She's unsurprisingly done terribly well for presents. Typically, her favourite seems to be something inessential; a tiny gift teddy bear that was part of a seasonal book bundle.

I have a nice new coffee mug with a picture of Moominpapa on, of which I am already fond. Also notable, a comic strip book that frames the life and work of Bertrand Russell as an analogy to a classical greek tragedy. Better than it sounds, it's quite a fascinating piece.

2010 has been a pretty good year I'd say. Mostly full of Ada, who has grown from being a rather sickly baby whose inability to keep food onboard, or sleep to rule frazzled nerves, to a largely reflux-free, sleep-friendly and entirely enchanting toddler. I think my Ada high-point of the last year would be when I taught her to high-five people, whenever she was being carried at shoulder height. She's currently showing signs of becoming a precocious chatterbox. Other than that, there's been the career gear-change, moving to work for, which has been almost entirely awesome. The new job brought a house move to London, which took me through the stages of ambivalence, active dislike of the place, right through to my current state of mind, which is settled back into an easy enjoyment of the appeals of city living. The fly in the ointment there is the lingering unsold Bristol house, dealing with which is going to feature heavily in the new year, I suspect.

Usually, at this time of year, I'd do some sort of summary of the year in music. 2010 has been a year where I've been kept pretty out of touch, because I've simply been too busy with other things. So most of the new discoveries I've made have been anything but current. Like everyone else, I became briefly overexcited about Janelle in the middle of the year. Standouts would be finally getting around to listening to Spirit Of Eden, and falling for it predictably, discovering The Books and Field Music, and my most unusual acquisition Sia's 'Some people have real problems' album, which I wouldn't have expected to have been my thing, but really captivated me. Luckily did a chart thing of my annual listening(a subscriber-only feature).

Having an infant at home has really curtailed the gig-going, so I had to focus on quality, not quantity. I did Primavera again, and I don't seem to be tiring of that yet, I've already bought tickets for 2011. I saw an astonishing Dirty Projectors show at the Barbican, performing 'The Getty Address' completely, accompanied by Alarm Will Sound. I finally got to see the New Pornographers with Neko, which was good enough to keep a stupid grin on my face all the way through the first hour, even though I was coming down with a stupid cold. I think I'll probably get more opportunity to see things in 201, but surprisingly I'm not really complaining.

Here's to 2011. Still sounds wrong.

Suggested listening

posted Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 08:28 by cms in Ada, comics, cooking, music | Comments Off on Holidays over


One year ago

posted Monday, December 6, 2010 at 23:16 by cms in Ada | Comments Off on Amazing

Child's play

I can't believe it's taken me this long to figure out, but PhotoBooth is amusing for babies.

Photo on 2010-01-23 at 10.10 #4

posted Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 10:34 by cms in Ada | Comments Off on Child's play

I'm a rapper with a baby

As usual, is the last site with the news.

The baby finally came. We have a daughter. She's called Ada. I love middle initials, I enjoy my 'M' so much that I thought she might like one too, so she's Ada May. Her birthday is the 23rd of October. She came one day early.

Lots of people have spotted the connection to the proto-programmer and feminist icon, or the programming language that took her name. Truth be told, these are excellent associations, but supplementary; the original inspiration came from a pop song I was very taken with. It's got Sufjan Stevens on piano, you know.


These photos are all taken at the "Woah dude, I've got a baby!" and "troops of admiring relatives"' phases, and are a few weeks old. We're currently at the "Oh bugger, she actually isn't going to sleep for more than 30 minutes in 24 hours" phase, and photo-ops have been pushed far from mind.

posted Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 06:23 by cms in Ada | 4 Comments »