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    • More +
      13.08.2012 20:02
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      It was not our war, and there are still terrorist attacks today. So what will it be like when we go?

      There have been heated debates of what will happen to Afghanistan and Iraq after the war on terror is over and i thought i'd share my opinion on this. To put it quite bluntly: The Taliban will just walk back in. All those years spent fighting a war against insurgents so the people of afghanistan could live in peace will be wasted because the Afghan army is nowhere near capable enough to cope on its own. Some say we need to be there longer to train them up a bit more, but i disagree. So my point would be bring back our troops now, stop them getting killed, it is not our war, and the people of Afghanistan need to stand up and fight for their country if they want the insurgents ousted.

      The insurgents are already showing off to the allied forces that they are still there with massive bomb attacks. America sees this all the time and it is clear that the problem is still there but the Americans turn a blind eye to it because they want to feel like they won, like they have trained the afghan army up and it's problem solved with no more insurgents to worry about. That's politics, they would do that of course, but where does that leave the Afghan people?

      The war on terror has been a widely debated one, many support, many don't support but i think you have to look at the individual aspects of the war in order to form a consensus on a wider picture. By that i mean, people don't agree with the killing of innocent men women and children. Most people are disgusted at the Taliban's "revenge" when they kill our soldiers. Most people however, celebrated when Bin Laden was shot dead in Pakistan by US forces, yet Pakistan was furious when America just walked into their country (harming diplomatic ties). Most people were outraged by the Koran Burning by a US pastor in Florida, most people were outraged at the barbaric response to this when Afghans chopped the heads off innocent UN staff. There are pros and cons all over the place and unless America somehow left afghanistan a better place, that would continue to be the problem: Extremism. The burning of American flags does not spark riots and beheadings in America, so how can America stop barbaric killings by extremists in a third world country with tons of civilian look a like insurgents? Its a very hard thing to do.

      But what happens if we have another attack? What if 9/11 is eclipsed in a terror attack that kills tens of thousands, maybe even more? are we supposed to just go out there and lets have a take 2 on the war on terror? Of course not! Most of the terrorists were Saudi Arabian, then we invaded Iraq, overthrew a dictator, Invaded Afghanistan to basically go drop bombs on caves (some killing innocent pakistani nationals as we have seen in the news recently) and shoot at an ever growing number of Islamic extremists. The war was on the insurgents. The insurgents who carry suicide bomb vests yet looks like every day normal afghans and yet nobody knows who they are.

      So the big question, what will Afghanistan look like when the war is over? Well for me personally I think there will be a sudden insurgency rise to an almost lawless land. There is a very weak army desperately trying to control it's insurgent problems and failing, our troops have struggled to train them with the Afghan Army's lack of effort, skill and discipline. I saw a video once of one Afghan army group out with british soldiers on patrol, and they were taking drugs? In the BBC Series "Our War" they cannot even hold a gun safely, and keep aiming it at each other without even thinking about it.

      I think we can also expect some pretty serious suicide bombing attacks and certainly ones which are more frequent. Look at North Africa, Al-Shabab for instance, attack churches, and are pretty much getting away with what they want because whilst the government want's it to stop, it's a third world country, and their army is nothing compared to the US or UK army? If we invaded their country, helped to kill insurgents, we would be in the same position ten years down the line as we are now with the Afghan war. It's a difficult battle to fight. They are fighting a loosing battle, but the insurgents will continue for a long time, there will be attacks all the time on the news and this is just my opinion, the Taliban will rule afghanistan if not politically, but by force.

      David Cameron has said he will not just leave afghanistan out in the cold after the war and will continue to support them so they can build a prosperous and terror free country. This sounds like a great idea on the surface but you can't stop insurgency attacks, you cant stop suicide bombers completely, and you certainly can't stop people converting to radical islam just through a war on terror.

      I think with our support we can leave behind an Afghanistan that has at least some control over its country, at least some basic training but the insurgents will continue to just laugh in the face on the allied forces because they will still be there, their numbers will grow and there will always be radical Islam, Afghanistan is a country that (before the war) had many towns held by Taliban forces and i personally think it will go back to that way, but that means more and more people will be converted to Radical Islam because the Taliban can recruit that way when they have such a stronghold.

      Girls cant go to school, limbs are cut off for stealing, shari'ah law will be strictly imposed. Look at Saudi Arabia though, it has strict Shari'ah law yet it has suffered terrorist attacks in recent years? Something tells me they will never be happy? There will always be scuffles. The middle east is a volatile region at the moment, and from what I can work out, will continue to be so after our troops leave.

      I support our soldiers, but I want them to come home. It's not our war. Rest in peace to all those allied soldiers who lost their lives fighting.

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        26.12.2011 13:17
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        What a year it now was

        A-Z of the new year!

        With the news that the company who own dooyoo have purchased ciao.co.uk recently one or two of you may not be sure of the future of both sites. They could co-exist but then why spend money on something that does what you do? Dooyoo made 200,000 Euro in 2010 and I doubt if ciao barely makes 100,000 a year and so must mean the end for one, right? I suspect ciao will be absorbed and dooyoo will be market leader by the spring. At least there will be one left so we can keep writing. Hell, maybe the rewards will even go up on here because of!! What is for sure is the guide's rewards won't be going down any day soon, taking 24 Christmas week crowns from just 59 reviews written last week, and just 40 members taking 40% of the crowns all year Ba Humbug!. Let's hope if there is a merged dooyoo he or she spreads the rewards around a little fairer next year. Without cross post revenue I like many of you will be considering our future here, the first time I have ever thought that.

        I thought I would use my A archive slot to talk about the past year in our world in general as that's what I generally tend to bore people with in the pub this time of the year anyway. As dooyoo won't be adding any new 'Dooyoo Lounge' suggestions before Japan is no longer radioactive, where else can I put this review? Baring in mind my 'Action Man: Global Edition' review was somewhat pedantically locked for being in the 'Action Men in General' category I fear this review wont last long either. lol.


        A - Arab Spring Watch with Bill Oddie!

        As the oil price shot up the dictators tumbled, or so we thought. Turns out they fell but were being pushed over by the next one in line, edged on by the west, Egypt still an oppressive military state and Libya already holding open X-Factor auditions for the next nutter. I mean, what sort of dictator only takes the rank of Colonel? You only have to throw some chicken in a basket in America to do earn that rank!
        Britain was forced to act over Libya, the government say on moral grounds, we say because we get 14% of our oil from there and hopefully 20% with the new leaders, someone we just so happened to be grooming in the U.K. at the same time. Syria, alas, has no oil and hated by Israel and so left to burn in the name of the same democracy. The irony here is the Arab Spring has let the Muslim leaders in as the scarf's go on and the call to prayer comes on. Oil is all that matters.

        B - Bin Laden Bin bagged!

        Obama was killing dictators faster than he could create them as the shock assignation of Bin Laden in April nearly upstaged the Royal Wedding. There was even a suggestion the operation was put back 24 hours so both massive events would not lose crucial publicity for both Obama and Cameron's election campaigns. The wedding was clearly timed to tighten up the traditional Tory vote in the local elections and proved the case, blasting the Liberals into oblivion, as Obama did Bin Laden. But looking at a stopped and pathetic Bin Laden in those pictures you knew this was not the guy who organised 911. No wonder he was buried with his secrets somewhat sharpish. The US stock market is up 1100 points since Bin laden was shot on the toilet. Where there is conspiracy over 911 there is none over Bin Laden, dead as can be with no tapes or videos since. The juries still out on William and Kate though as she is getting as uncomfortably thin as her husbands barnett.


        C - Crime and no punishment

        The jails are full and so instead of building more prisons the CPS have been forced through budget cuts to simply not allow criminals to be prosecuted. It's been revealed that nearly 1.2 million on the spot fines have been handed out since Blair bought them in and 25% of those cases were worthy of a prison sentence. This method simply brings down the crime rate falsely for politicians to crow about and then the government can cut the CPS funding even more because the crime rate is coming down. Get it?

        An example of this slight of hand would have to be a Manchester woman and her accomplice from a local traveller's camp who filled a trolley with £400 quid's worth of booze and whilst her friend distracted the security guard she wheeled the booze into the car park and put it in the boot without paying. But the car ran out of petrol and so they pushed it to the pump and paid for the fuel. Some diligent CCTV work revealed the crime later on and the women went to court. They got suspended sentences, even though they were serial shoplifters and likely to reoffend, making a mockery of the recent and rather severe riot convictions. Rose had three things going for to keep her out of prison. She was a woman, a declared ethnic minority and the local women's prisons were full. How absurd is that. It's no wonder the rioters thought they could get away with it. The Tories have increased the public anguish over crime by cutting legal aid to save money, but humans rights laws meaning they cant cut court offenders defence lawyers rights and so the cuts made on other areas of legal aid, like welfare and employment arbitration.

        D - Drugs and Drink and Dad

        Amy Winehouse died on Q at 27, the most popular age for young showbiz deaths, and no surprises how, drunk and swallowing her puke. Dad Mitch, who had always lived is failed musical career dreams though his flaky daughter, quickly released an album to cash in on his daughters death. Adele didn't do any of those things and took the music world by storm, young girls not just buying her records for her powerful voice and song writing skills but the fact she looks like them and talks like them, a refreshing change for the often vacuous and vain music business. If we get to download what we want from the internet then the charts will change radically, boy bands out and genuine voices and musicians in.

        E - Europe is at war

        Gyles Brandreth quips that in light of Meryl Streeps impending Oscar for playing Margaret Thatcher we should make a movie called 'Eurozone', where Meryl plays Angela Merkel, the German PM - and Ronnie Corbett to play President Sarkosy! Yep, it's finally dawned on even the most fervent Europe fan that it's doesn't actually work and one too many Euro countries have politicians chasing vote's not fiscal union and used the cheap Euro loans over the last three decades to buy those votes with public service sector jobs with unsustainable high pay and conditions in those jobs. Now we all have to pay the money back at once and we are f**ked, the southern European countries more interested in lazing in the sun than building their private sector employment, the growth the loans were supposed to be for and the only way the union can function. Apparently, at the recent Paris summit to try and sort the problems out for the final time the fireworks were banned at the end in-case the Italians retreated at the sound of an explosion and the French surrendered to the Japanese tourists at the Arc de Triumph!

        F - Fukishima fukup

        The biggest heroes on the planet this year had to be those incredibly brave nuclear plant workers who stayed on site to battle the fires in the three reactors after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the 5th highest ever recorded on the planet, sent seven waves of varying size to crash, gush and roll over the plants feeble defences. It was another 911 moment. The world was scared. Anything and everything is as only as strong as the weakest link and the seawater only needed to overrun the poorly maintained water pumps that cool the reactors and it was game over, three reactors overheating and exploding in terrifying style. But, like anything else, once you see it for real and up close on TV you are better prepared in so many ways for next time, a next time that will come. It looks like thousands haven't died in Japan because of the feared radiation poisoning though as the most poisonous radiation elements blew out to see, ironically this accident meaning future plants will be much safer. 20.000 people have died so far from the wave but just three from radiation. But, like the old with dementia here, the old there were the ones left to drown in the wave and rot afterwards. Quite bizarrely, only 627 people in total died from radiation poising to this day form the after effects of the Hiroshima blast some 70 years ago.

        G - GCSE ...General Certification of Silly education

        It has been revealed that competing exam boards have been offering seminars at £200 quid a pop to effectively teach the teachers and headmasters/mistresses what questions will be on the coming exam. As soon as the government introduced exam and school leagues it was obvious the exam boards would pitch for business this way, driving down standards. Teaching kids the answers is not an education but it makes governments look good. These are some of the answers on GCSE papers over the years:

        "Solomon had 300 wives and 700 hundred porcupines"

        "The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn't have a history. The Greeks also had myths.

        "A myth is a female moth".

        "Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics"

        "Joan of Arc was burnt to a 'steak' and was canonised by George Bernard Shaw"

        "In 'midevil' times, most people were 'alliterate'

        "Charles Darwin was a 'naturist' who wrote the 'Organ of the Species'.

        "Nero was a cruel submariner who tortured his subjects by playing the fiddle to them"


        H - Hurricane Irene...I swear it means rain...

        This monster was America's first middle-class hurricane as it spun up the affluent East Coast, clattering the second homes of rich America. There were no riots or scenes of needy Black Americans atop their slums being ignored by George Bush after trying to escape the water, here just politely boarded up second homes with a cop on every corner. American weather experts had predicted the worse ocean storm season for thirty years at the start of the year but Irene the star of the show by a long way in what turned out to be an average storm season, more of that weather hype. But hundreds of lives were saved because people heeded the warnings and left town, always the real killer in forecast natural disasters.

        I - Immigration means the welfare of the poor

        Net immigration has increased in the United kingdom as less and less people leave the country as recession bites. But just as many are still coming and you have to ask why during recession? I think we know the answer to that. The rise in jobseekers claimants over the last year is mostly people being moved of other benefits and eastern Europeans now getting access to full benefits after an EU rule change. With temps getting full workers rights after just 12 weeks from today I expect a lot of Poles to be laid off today, believed to be over half-a-million Eastern Europeans industrial temping here. Eastern European immigration has also seen the rise of metal and copper theft in the UK by an extraordinary 45% year on year.


        J - Jobs and not Steve

        I expected the Tories to be cruel on public service to control the deficit but not this nasty, a minimum 700,000 jobs to go in the public sector by 2014. But public debt is just 14% of the countries total personal debt and surely it's better to have some of that 700,000 working and pouring their wages back into the economy and paying off their private debt than this carnage. But the Tories represent private business and they want lucrative health contracts, transport deals and anything that isn't nailed down that they can exploit for a profit from the public sector, a square kick in the nuts for the public sector. Yes we need to cut some public spending to stop the speculators on the bond markets turning on us but it looks like they will anyway as they can't see any growth in Britain from the next ten years with Cameron's sever cutting strategy and so no way for us to pay back the money through growth. Sadly we will top three million unemployed next year and Cameron will push on for four million. Sacking people is the best way to control inflation, the Tories big fear.

        K - Killing for oil

        As soon as the Americans handed back the keys to Iraq the drum beats began for war with Iran, the 12 American bases across the country ideal launch pads, Iraq perhaps asked to chip in after America sold them 146 Abraham's tanks and seventeen F-18 fighters for a cool $24.5 billion dollars last month and more deals to come.

        Once the ink was dry on the multi billion dollar oil and rebuild deals for the final act of separation the Shiite Prime Minister immediately sacked and then arrested the Baathist deputy Prime Minister, triggering the expected Civil War. We don't do democracy abroad, the supreme irony here that a man like Saddam is the type that will bring peace in Iraq now.

        L - Leveson Enquiry means yet more tabloid publicity

        It's no coincidence that the Leveson Enquiry is being held alongside the police investigation into the phone hacking scandal so none of the people at the enquiry have to answer any tough questions so not to incriminate themselves, another establishment whitewash. We all know hacking was widespread because it was easy for a period of time of around four years in the last decade and we only seemed bothered when poor Millie Dowlers phone was hacked. The police and press only monitored her phone because they thought her father was the killer, and if the tabloids had got exactly that scoop then we would be patting them on the back and saying I told you so. The constant parade of fading celebrities taking the witness box to harangue the press they would be nothing without was vulgar, and then pose for the same paparazzi outside of the court!!! I know Steve Coogan and Hugh Grant don't want to hear their careers are over but they are.

        M -Man Made Global Warming stopped..

        Well it's kind of cooled, if you can excuse the pun, world temperatures plateauing since the extraordinary hot year of 1998, what sparked the messianic rush to turbines and fair trade cous cous in the first place. Leaked emails have revealed third parties were quietly paying BBC science journalist and Met Office workers to encourage global warming hype now that doubt has flooded into the public conscious.
        This is a problem for some governments who have hooked their general tax raising ethos towards green issues now that the big corporations increasingly refuse to pay any tax at all, this, an emotive way to collect taxes from the middle-class. All big business need do is go off shore or have a nice meal with the tax inspector and 80% of the tax bill is written off.

        An example of the exploitation of green issues to raise taxes can be seen at the nation's airports. Air passenger tax was introduced by the government; they say to cut numbers flying to stem damaging the ozone layer. When flying numbers fell through the recession you would think job done and it's working. Wrong. The Treasury are narked numbers have fallen from 315 million flying to 250 million because they have lost 500 million tax from it. Like the London congestion charge they were quietly hoping people didn't change their habits much but just paid more for it. As a result Boris Johnson put up the congestion charge and widened its catchment area and then the bus prices to catch the strays when car numbers fell and the government wants a 25% rise in air taxes to do the same, which they will get. It's the same with trains where people are forced out of their cars and on to trains and then hit again by taxes and fare rises to reduce the trains 29% public subsidy so make money there of the green hype.

        N - Northern Ireland is the rebirth of a nation

        The children of the Troubles have won three golf Majors in the last two years, an astonishing feat for such a small country to produce three great players. The kids grew up amongst the chaos and now a new nation is being born, the province I.Q levels an average five points higher than that of the mainland, the gene pool well and truly cleansed, Northern Irelands civil war not really affecting the provinces middle-class. Watch out for N.Ireland in tennis is my tip.

        O - Over - Population is not over yet

        There are seven billion of us now and rising fast, 57 million dying every year but 122 million born. 99% of species that have ever existed on earth have been wiped out by man and 12% of the people that have ever lived on earth are alive today. There is no way the resources can cope and so we propagate man-made global warming myths through official bodies to stem growth in the developing world to stop them getting at our resources. This means the third world will continue to come to the west that will have to feed and house them, and with that comes more problems, much higher crime rates, health issues and housing shortages. You have all seen those Eastern Europeans living on roundabouts and in the local woods as you speed past. Infectious diseases are really taking hold now in these groups here and now responsible for 75% of all new TB and HIV infections and 80% of Hepatitis B cases in Britain. Because many Muslims don't approve of injections and insist on covering their kids up with religious dress we have seen a big rise in measles and rickets too. Without mass immigration to the UK these diseases would be on the floor. But a modern world demands movement from east to west to do the jobs we don't want to do and the habits we dot want to practice so that's the deal folks.

        P - Privacy is for perverts

        Super injunction was a new legal word to join the lexicon of legal speak this year, a powerful law used to block the media reporting a fact or facts that may prejudice persons or organisations privacy. Some companies were using it to hide their crimes whilst certain celebrities were using it to block stories about doing likewise with sex aids up their bottoms! But the biggest irony was that of previous Big Brother contestant and confirmed bimbo, Imogen Thomas, who was so angry Ryan Giggs had stopped the press getting hold of details of her affair with him, one that would earn her money through kiss and tell stories (her main income), she challenged the super injunction. Giggs hinted at the idea that she only slept with him so to tell the tabloids and so he blocked the story. It now transpires Giggsy was also shagging his brother's wife for eight years on the side and so little credence to that excuse, she, too going public to make a few quid. There is no greater madness and contradiction than being a celebrity.

        Q - Queens 50 year reunion gig

        She has had a great year with the Royal Wedding and her 59th wedding anniversary well underway, although the Duke's ticker is beginning to pack up. It's a shame Prince Edward doesn't have a face like Pippa's ass though. I like the Duke and one of the five guys I would love to have lunch with at my fantasy dinner party. What secrets he must know! We won't discuss what Prince Andrew and his kids have been putting up their nose on the London party scene.


        R - Riots and responsibility

        Six months on and we are still too scared to call it what it was, a race riot, targeted against the police and anybody who wasn't African-Caribbean. The media chose to blame the police so not to have that debate. Mostly Asian, White and Middle Eastern businesses were targeted across London and 75% of insurance claims made so far are relating to those demographics. The majority of rioter's sent to jail were non white and the images and archives refuse to betray that fact, the evening wear department of JD Sports emptied across the nation! As a white guy I can't possibly understand the frustration of being stopped and searched all the time and I'm sure that anger brews but the majority of rioters had criminal records and this wasn't about innocent people making their frustrations made by pinching what they could. Rather incredibly one-in-eight of the rioters caught were claiming some sort of incapacity benefit and 40% were on standard unemployment benefits. 45% of London's unemployed are classed as black and so that percentage not as disproportionate as it seems. Foreign nationals from 44 countries were involved in the riots, one-in-seven of the convicted rioters born abroad, reflecting the current British prison population and so again proportionate.

        Black communities have to accept that SUS laws were introduced purely because of the high levels of crime in black communities and there to protect innocent black people and residents of places like Tottenham and Hackney. The fact the riot was sparked by the FIRST shooting of a black male in London by the MET in their history, a black man who was a low level dealer and gang member and had hidden his stash of Class A drugs in his girlfriend's garden no less. Why are the community so angry that the people who bring the police to their communities are being policed? Its not reason enough to burn London down. The black community have to accept they have to hand over the bad guys in their areas or things will never change and the police will never go away. The Asian communities of Britain did not riot that week and also subject to oppressive stop and search, let alone all those false terror allegations to demonise Islam to justify the War in Iraq, something the media are not picking up on. It was what it was guys and only idiot Manc chav's aping it up north distracted from that fact.

        S - Sports Personality of the Year, like lager, is not for girls

        The feminist and rebel rousers were raging that there were no birds on the short list this year, fair comment. Rather childishly the BBC made all ten finalists on the Young Sports Personality of the Year Award female to prove the shortlisted is indeed bias in response. The thing is women have won the big award three times in the last ten years and so there is no bias. The problem is simple: women spectators don't like or pay to support women's sport. The female media...,say the 75 registered lifestyle magazines on sale here, and TV shows like Loose Women, just don't want to talk about women's sport and spend their time on sex, clothes and clutch bags because that's what gets them advertising revenue and that's what most women want to see in magazines. Young women don't want sporty muscles because they think they will lose their figures and looks. If these lifestyle mag's refuse to push women's sport unless they can squeeze sexy Jessica Ennis into a little black dress then what do they expect? Most women who prefer sport prefer men's sport and this is not a media or sponsors issue but participation and sex appeal one. They want to see Nadal sexy legs not some Brighton College student kicking a football around in empty stadiums. Let's face it; if women's athletics and tennis didn't share with the men then they too would get zero serious coverage.


        T - Tsunami brings home nature in a rush


        When TV and video actually capture natural disasters in all their awe and destruction that have happened for millions of years before some begin to believe the hype and buy into the fear that it's linked to global warming. The insurance companies, the lawyers that legislate health and safety laws and politicians will always exploit that to get control and your money. There is no reason at all why tsunami insurance cover should rise in Japan by 400% as the next one won't happen in the policy holder's lifetime and so the premiums should technically drop but that's exactly what happened. We are being right royally fleeced here.

        The wave didn't look like we thought it would, no arcing crest or crashing foam, instead just appearing to slowly crawl across the land and then eat it and spit it out. In some places in Japan it swept in six miles.

        U - Universal AID and the poor who dont get it

        One area of public spending Cameron isn't cutting and actually increasing is third world aid, much to the chagrin of many voters. But government aid allows British companies access in other countries and they love to piggy back off the back of that with high level ministerial visits and meetings secured to secure those big commercial deals. In fact most of the nine billion pounds earmarked for the third world will not be going to poor communities.

        One such deal will see a mobile phone company get access to Kenya and Pakistan to help people bank through their mobile phones with one billion pounds of development money help, the amount cut on legal aid in the UK last year. It is a little hazy on how that will help subsistent farmers or poor villages in Pakistan that probably don't have a cell phone, let alone have money to make calls on one. Our aid money is also being used to help a GERMAN company introduce genetically modified crops in Bangladesh and big cheques are going to blue chip companies to be more ethical abroad, which to me suggests aid money is being used as a slush fund to win Tory support through donations at election time. Even a large British tea company based in Harrogate is getting aid money to encourage them to buy tea from Rwanda, rather than just supporting the fledgling Rwanda tea farmers. Where it gets really murky is where you tax money is given indirectly to African dictators, who have fleets of limousines and Learjets, the president of the Peoples Republic of the Congo a great example of this corruption. The PRC have rare metals used in the making and often mined by child labour. That's not what charity is supposed to be about. Dictator after dictator have been getting so much aid money over the years by keeping their countries in poverty that they have bought extensive properties abroad in the nicest of neighbourhoods. If Britain is increasing their aid by thirty-five percent this year you have to ask why.

        V - Valentine Simathcehnko and the miracle cure

        He was the guy who bravely tackled the perfunctory knife wielding thug at the Notting Hill Carnival who had stabbed a fellow gang member on camera. The press loved it and spun the tale they were told by the guy that he was an ex Russian policeman and a hero from the Chechnya war and this was run of the mill stuff for him as he had seen 1000 men killed. Turns out he was an asylum seeker who has been falsely claiming various sick and disability benefits in London for a while now and certainly didn't fight in the Chechnya war, actually a wanted man in the Ukraine for his involvement in the murder of two people there, of which he says he was framed for. Pictures quickly emerged of the disabled Valentine balancing on shopping trolleys swigging Vodka, a whole album of snaps suggesting he wasn't that disabled and yet another taking advantage of our extremely generous and welcoming benefit system to the peoples of the world. It seems to tally with the fact that of the 600,000 asylum seekers Blair let in, over 67%, when given the right to work and live here, signed on and have never worked. I would probably do the same in their shoes if my English is poor and the system is set up for just that.

        W - Weather and why it wont go away

        Australia flooded in January with unprecedented amounts of rainfall from two back-to-back cyclones with one third of Queensland under water, with both Thailand and the Philippines also suffering catastrophic soakings this year in the region. Americas so-called tornado alley saw an amazing 754 funnel clouds recorded in just three weeks as 299 lives were lost to vicious twisters, their worse storms for over 100 years, wiping out a town called Joplin in the process, that one the single most deadly tornado since 1947.

        X - X Factor is on its last legs

        A group won this year for the first time, Little Minx talking like the absent Cheryl Cole and taking home the prize, not the most attractive girls from up north. One of them is quite chubby and will no doubt have to lose that weight, if the girls are to cut an album. Leona Lewis is still reticent to show her fleshy thighs, the variables the record companies don't like when the public pic their pop champions. Beyonce and Rhianna only made it as solo singer as they have the bodies to go with the voices. Best not mention that fat bird Michelle McManus packing out the 02 that won Pop Stars a while back. The standard was poor this year and surely game over for Cowell.

        Y - You're American, right?

        In America and the Tea Party movement (they are all white) in America embarrass their president in front of the world by demanding he produces his birth certificate to show he is indeed American. They claim they are not racist but their number is large and you won't spot a black face amongst them. The crap Obama has to put up with because he is born black is astonishing. If you vote in a black president to appease your countries guilt then at least give the guy a chance to prove black people are equal , if not better, when left to make a change.


        Z - Zoo's and poos

        Edinburgh zoo purchased some pandas off the Chinese, 570 grand a pair and that again for annual living costs. The Pandas did not have black eyes before they got to Scotland, claim the Chinese.

        Happy New Year indeed!

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        • More +
          25.11.2008 08:08
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          Send greetings cards to political prisoners and others in danger.

          The tradition of sending greetings cards for Christmas and the New Year started back in 1840, and for me the best thing about it is sending cards to people I see very seldom during year, and receiving a card and some news from them. I usually try to buy charity Christmas cards in the hope that a few pennies will go to third-world countries or other deserving causes, although we are told that the percentage that is given is very small.

          A couple of years ago I found out about Amnesty International's greetings card campaign, which seemed a way of doing something more constructive than simply buying charity cards. Amnesty provides details of people all over the world who are at risk, for example prisoners of conscience, people under sentence of death, and human rights defenders under threat. We can offer hope and encouragement to these people by sending them greetings cards. Sometimes police, prison staff or political authorities notice the sheer amount of international mail that these people are receiving, and it can therefore increase their safety.

          Amnesty publishes a brochure that gives details of 26 individuals and groups to whom cards can be sent; the information is also available on their website. Each person or group's circumstances are explained, and their name and contact address is given. Amnesty advises that in most cases non-religious cards should be sent, but they do indicate where religious cards are acceptable. They advise writing a message in your own first language, whilst at the same time giving messages in the individual's native language for you to copy if you wish. Mention of Amnesty in the card and political messages are to be avoided at all costs, as they can result in further problems for the recipient.

          Amnesty asks senders to put their own name and address on the card to show that they come from real people, but you can just put your initials and your city and country if you prefer.

          Lightweight cards would make the most sense, as postage costs can then be kept to a minimum. Most of the people live in postage Zone 1, although there are a few in Europe; postage is likely to range from 44p to 72p. Of course no-one is obliged to send cards to all these individuals or groups - you can choose how many or how few you wish to send. The campaign runs until 31st January, so there is no rush to send cards while you are preparing for Christmas: you could write them while you are digesting your Christmas dinner, or if you have some free time in the New Year. Amnesty gives suggestions for involving larger numbers of people in sending cards by organising a stall or a card-writing session at school or at work.

          Most of the addresses are quite long and contain many foreign words, but to make things easier you can dowload and print address labels for all the cases from the website link given below.

          If you have some cards left over this Christmas, or if you can buy a box of lightweight cards, this seems to be a very good use for them.

          UPDATE, 25th November 2008
          This season, the Amnesty Greetings Card Campaign began on 1st November 2008 and will run until 31st January 2009. Amnesty International has made some improvements to the materials they have produced to assist people in participating and involving others.

          The usual A5 leaflet is available and gives details of all the individual cases as well as advice on what to write inside the cards. There is also an A5 photocopiable sheet giving details of four of the cases; this is aimed at those working with young people aged 8-14 who could be encouraged to take part in the campaign.

          For those wishing to take further action (beyond sending a card) and to continue taking action after the campaign ends, there is a pack of thirty case-sheets and guidance sheets focusing on some of the individuals featured in the greetings card campaign. Further details are given on the reverse of the sheets, along with suggestions of action that can be taken. The sheets can be photocopied and are suitable for display; a folder to keep them in can be ordered separately.

          An A3 size poster is available and has a blank space for you to fill in the details of an event you are organising in relation to the campaign, such as a card-writing session. A bilingual Welsh/English poster is also available. Like last year, you can order an A2 world map showing photographs of the various countries where the individual cases are situated.

          All of these resources are free of charge and can be ordered online. Details are available on the website at http://amnesty.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=10673 .

          Please take part in any way you can, and thank you for reading.

          Originally published on Ciao under my username denella.

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            15.08.2008 00:55
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            At last, it doesn't matter what other people think any more

            Forever on the hunt for new things to write about whilst I'm waiting for my suggested topics to be approved, I found yet another one of these "talking about myself" type things way down in the archives. How could I possibly resist doing this?

            At the risk of boring anybody who reads this beyond redemption, here goes.......and though until I start I have little idea of what I am going to say, I have a feeling my answers/descriptions will be centred not entirely, but largely around the shock of becoming middle-aged.

            A...is for Amnesia. My memory is something that, until the dreaded menopause took its toll and turned me into a gibbering idiot for around five years, was excellent, but now seems to have eliminated itself from my consciousness. I can remember 50 years ago as clear as a bell, but ask me what I did five minutes ago and I'd be stumped for a reply.

            B...is for Bloomers. No more tiny little knickers that show more than they hide, and have a habit of uncomfortably cutting into certain parts of the anatomy. It's sensible, waist-high jobs for me these days.

            C...is for Computer. Without my computer I feel I would fade away into complete depressive oblivion. Though I did manage to live 46-odd years without one, I am even more obsessed with my mechanical soulmate than other people are with their mobile phones.

            D...is for Droopy. Every part of my body is gathering speed, and dangling in a seriously downwards direction. The pointy boobs I was once so proud of, now flop to the point where if my stomach wasn't in the way, I'd be able to see my feet once again!

            E...is for Enlightenment. Despite the physical and mental decline of the past eight or so years, I feel I have got to know myself with a depth that I hadn't realised possible.

            F...is for Flatulence. I am sure that the male population of the world are thankful that I live alone. Once upon a time it was just an over-indulgence of assorted legumes or radiation-fallout strength curries.....these days, it's just being alive!

            G...is for Glutton. I am happy stuffing my face with various items of this, that and the other which would make any health freak dissolve into an attack of nanny-state neurosis. Life is for enjoying! And, I enjoy mine enormously.


            H...is for Hair. Since my early 40s, hair has been vanishing from places where it ought to be, and springing up in tufts where I never imagined it was possible to have hair. The worst are the thick, black, wiry breed which spring out of my neck and chin at an alarming speed, and are completely resistant to all forms of hair-slaying potions and equipment.

            I...is for Ignorance. I feel as though I come from another galaxy to anybody aged under 35. Once I was street-wise.....now, I have no idea what anybody is talking about, and am totally baffled by 21st century jargon.

            K...is for Knackered! Walking ten yards down the road, or picking up a cup and carrying it to the kitchen are, amongst other trials of physical labour, very good reasons to excuse myself and take a ten-hour long nap.

            L...is for Lazy. My motto is....why walk when you can stand still, why stand when you can sit, why sit when you can lie down, why stay awake when you can be asleep?

            M...is for Memorabilia. After an intense bout with the credit cards on EBay a couple of years ago, I now have an admirable collection of old leaflets, magazines, photographs, books, annuals, and much more, dating back to my two favourite decades, the 1950s and 1960s.

            N...is for Noise! The blight and curse of my life and the modern-day world. People just don't seem to know how to be quiet any more. It appears to me, from the little bubble that I live in, people are in serious competition with one another to see who can make the most racket. I wonder what the prize is for the winner? A one-way trip to the Siberian salt mines, I hope!

            O...is for Opulent. OK, I know I'm not as sylph-like as I used to be, but does it really matter? It is a very good place to be in life when you are middle-aged, as a golden realisation suddenly dawns that girth-expansion, in the whole scheme of the universe, is a somewhat petty issue, as there are far more serious things in the world to worry about.

            P...is for Paunch. I love mine now that I have got used to it, as it gives me something to lean my arms on. It also prevents my skirts, trousers, and knickers from falling down when the elastic has snapped or worn out.

            Q...is for Quatermass. If you can remember that being on TV (as I can), then you are one of the golden generation - old!!!

            R...is for Relaxation. I don't think in my life I have TRULY been able to relax until this point in life, where I am gradually feeling all of my hangups and prejudices melting away.

            S...is for Skin-tags! They are those monstrous globs of hanging flesh, and for me, are so far the highest price I have had to pay for entering into the first stages of my dotage.

            T...is for Time. It just doesn't matter any more, and it is my own - not somebody else's. My life is now at a point where I call my own shots, and I do things when I want to do them...not when somebody else believes and demands that I ought to.

            U...is for Uterus. Mine is no longer functional, and thus gives me absolutely no problems at all in life.

            V...is for Victory! Life has been a long, hard battle - and the recognition of such is only upon me with the gift of hindsight. I can now sit back and relax, basking in my own personal sense of victory.

            W...is for Wee! My bladder reminds me far more frequently and far more urgently than it used to, that it needs emptying. I now understand why old ladies on coach trips need so many loo stops.

            X...is for Xmas. At long long last, I now have the strength of character to say to people that no, I don't want to go to their house on Xmas Day and be fed substandard food, then spend the afternoon getting drunk as a skunk in an attempt to blot out the racket their foul offspring (or the offspring of their offspring) are making.

            Y...is for Yawn! Something these days I start to do at around 9pm. In my long-lost youth, 9pm was when the evening began, not ended. Thank God I'm a grown-up now!

            Z...is for ZZZZZZZ! I have discovered the utter joy of having an afternoon nap. When younger I wouldn't have been seen dead sleeping when everybody else was awake, but now I find it one of the most refreshing experiences life has to offer.

            Well, that's the alphabet of life how it stands now.....and, in all honesty, I wouldn't want it to be any other way.

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              18.07.2003 21:29
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              Its my 100th op!! I never thought that I would get this far, or obviously having nothing else to do in my life that would mean I was still here, putting out ops and hoping for the jaggy bonnets!! But there you go, and I'm afraid you are going to have to sit through the dreaded A-Z of me! A) Can I see we are off to a really bad start here! I know, antiques! I've got a really big thing about them, Bargain Hunt, Antiques Roadshow, Flog It, etc. I watch them all. Unfortunately I don't possess any at all, sour grapes perhaps? I'm not telling you! Oh and I'm sorry Sarah_Louise I know you love that paranormal stuff but Antiques Ghost Show is just ridiculous! B) Books, I just love them, the last count in May last year revealed over 500, on good months I can buy up to twenty and beyond (charity shops have a lot to answer for!), bad month, maybe 5. And I'll read anything, I cant just buy one book in a series I have to have the whole lot, and with fantasy writers being rather prolific they take up a lot of bookshelves. Well I say bookshelves...in the garage still not unpacked from the move last year, in the kitchen, both bathrooms, stacked up in the bedroom, in the loft, everywhere. A Health Visitor once suggested to me to get rid of some as they could be a hazard to my baby son. The look on her face when I told her that I would rather get rid of my son was priceless! C) Chocolate or cooking? Cooking or Chocolate? How about both? Chocolate Rice Crispy Cakes are a gift from God, I'm not fussy what chocolate I eat, it doesn't have to be anything special, or on its own, chalet cheesecake, chocolate fudge cake, you name it, if it has chocolate in it I'll eat it. D) Which leads me neatly onto my next...Dieting! I seem to be on a permanent diet, well for about 2 weeks then everything goes a bit funny. Yes I know a nicely spiced grilled chicken breast with salad is very tasty but compare it to a nice rich, full
              of cheese and red wine lasagne and there's not contest. Whilst all the nice stuff still tastes better than low fat stuff then I'm eating that!! E) Epilepsy, this has defined my life in such a big way, unless you have it you cant understand. Teased at school, experimented on by doctors, self injury, being turned down for jobs solely on that basis, being left in the street because people think I'm on drugs, treated like I'm a freak especially when 'friends' find it out. But my epilepsy isn't bigger than me anymore, its easy to let that happen, to let it become you. My drugs are finally working and I'm about to take my driving lesson test soon. I'll be out on the road, people beware!! F) Food, see above! I don't have a love hate relationship with food like some, I like most of it! Unfortunately vegetables and fruit don't rate to highly, hence the rather large Emma. G) God, is there one?, living in a house full of atheists can be difficult some time and I have a tendency to bounce around from religion to religion picking out the best bits! That's it, I'm going to become a God, you may all worship nice and quietly at the temple of Emma, bring me nice food and a regular visit from Justin Timberlake! H) Horses, God I hate them, After a rather close run in with one at a Poll Tax March (I had the bruises for weeks), I'm scared to death of them! I'm sure they are quite useful, but with cars they are rather obsolete. I suggest we do what the French do and eat them! I) I? What on earth am I supposed to think of? Ice Cream?, the stuff makes my teeth hurt. Indiana Jones?, wonderful films, everyone should own one. I as in myself? Wonderful, funny and a downright nice person, that's me! J) Junk, I'm rather a hoarder, in 50 years time people are going to be able to come into my house and find old Evening Posts under the sofa. Actually I dread to think what's under
              my sofa, I haven't looked for a while, there's so much junk in my house a small elephant could hide and I wouldn't notice. Its clean mind, so you can all come round for a cup of tea! K) Err, I'll get back to you on that one, don't suppose Kake counts, didn't think so! L) Lucretia, my lovely daughter, unfortunately named after a Sisters of Mercy she tends to abandon it for the lesser weird name of Lucy. At 12 she's had several poems published, if you would like to take a look they are on Ciao and U-Rate-It, bit morbid though,. Sure she doesn't get that from me! M) Mental Health Worker, that's me, that's what I do. I work with the Elderly with dementia and also mental health problems. I'm going to plug my Alzheimer's op as I think its a really useful bit of info. I'm not overawed at my job title though, a lot of clients and their families don't like it and sometime I tend not too use it, particularly around friends of the family. I also get a few strange looks when I tell people what I do. You work with 'mad old ladies' is my daughters delightful way of putting it! N) Nothing, cant think of anything, please insert your own comment! O) Opportunity, I've had the opportunity to go back to university and I embraced it with open arms, so reluctant to leave I'm spent 5 years doing a 3 years degree and I'm going back to do another one next year. P) Phobia. I've got a terrible phobia, its called social phobia and I'm sure many of you can relate. A lot of it is connected to my epilepsy, the thought of many people staring at me while I have a seizure. It drives a lot of my friends crazy, I have to know who's around me all the time so I keep constantly looking. Of course a lot of people think I'm being ignorant and not listening to them, but that's not the case at all, I just have to know who is behind me. I once fa
              iled an exam at Uni because of it, a rather small room with three different exams taking place and I just couldn't handle all those people around me and just ran!! Its getting better now I've come to terms with my epilepsy but occasionally.... Q) Quiet, I'm quite a quiet person, or so others think!! In my own group of friends I never shut up, but connected with my social phobia in groups of people I don't know, or even in work where I'm afraid I'll come across as stupid I never speak. Which is quite surprising seeing as I dress like a complete freak!! R) Racism, cant stand it. How can anybody be stupid enough to think the colour of a persons skin makes them different? I've never been able to work it out, that includes white on black, black on white, black on Asian, etc. Can someone tell me how this works? S) Society, what a f****d world this is! Starving children, mass employment in some parts of the world, war and bigotry and hatred. When we have the tools to solve all these problems why don't we do it? Surely it doesn't take that much effort. Capitalism, what a joyful thing, eh? T) Travel, if you ever come to Bristol, please bring your car, I know pollution, congestion all that stuff, but there is honestly enough parking spaces here. Go by bus and you're taking your life in your hands, I'm currently in an argument with First Bus because a bus mounted a kerb and I ended up with a damaged ulnar and median nerve, first time I've flown! Apparently its my own fault for being on the bus!! Oh yes and several people have been killed in the City Centre cos bus drivers seem to think they don't have to obey red lights like the rest of the population. Someone please break the monopoly! U) Ulnar nerve, otherwise known as the 'funny bone, bloody hurts when you damage it, defiantly not funny! I lost the use of my hand for 2 days, hence 2 days off work I didn't get paid for, d
              o I think First Bus should compensate me for those 2 days? Of course! V) Violet, I love purple in any shade particularly violet my hairs a rather stunning mix of black and purple at the moment, looks gorgeous! Supposed to be a spiritual colour you know, personally I just think its looks nice. Being an old Goth has nothing to do with it! And vodka W) Weight, I think we've covered that. X) X-tradinary, that's me! Once met, never forgotten, if only for my ability to drink vast amount of Black Russians without throwing up. Y) Young at heart, of course my daughter is dead embarrassed to go out with me, that's cos she's jealous because I look better than all her friends with my black and purple hair, several piercings and being downright funky. And she's no allowed to have her eyebrow pierced, she's 12 for gawds sake! Z) You got this far? Poor you, now I know who my friends are, I'll spare you anything else to read. Except to say, what the bleeding hell is my 200th op going to be about?

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                18.07.2003 21:22
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                A – Aqua Water, water everywhere, oh how I love it! Nothing beats the sensation of immersing yourself in a cold swimming pool after a heavy bout of sunbathing, or splashing about in the surf with the sand between your toes, or watching giant rollers crashing majestically off the rocks, and getting lightly drenched with foamy mist. I also love being curled up on a sofa and listening to rain beating on the windows and roof. Aqua (turquoise) is also my favourite colour, and looks fantastic in the summer with a bit of a tan. And then of course there’s the small fact that without it we’d all be dead! B – Beaches Linking nicely to aqua, next up is the beach, one of my favourite places to be. Everything from packing a big beach bag, to choosing a nice secluded spot, to dipping a hesitant toe in the water, spending a day at the beach is definitely one of my favourite ways to spend a day! Some of the more notable beaches I have visited included Kynance Cove (Cornwall), Mobor (Goa), Lovina (Bali), Cresswell (Northumberland) and Formentor (Majorca). C – Chums Where would we be without friends? A very sad place that’s where. A shared history, a shoulder to cry on, a shopping partner, chums are just great. I think is that a truly great friend is one you can not talk to for ages, or lose contact with, but when you meet again its like you only say each other yesterday! Well that’s my excuse for being the world’s worst correspondent! D- Dancing Dancing is a great way to keep fit and loads of fun besides. Personall y I am enjoy dancing around the living room with the stereo on full blast type, but I have also dabbled in Modern Jazz classes when I was going through my Chicago-obsessed stage. If considering taking a class you are spoilt for choice… salsa, hip hop, jive, breakdance, belly dancing, tango… the list is endless. Also a good mating
                ritual in da club.. (and no we’re not talking the funky chicken – this is only if you can move without looking like a malfunctioning robot) E- Eating Mmm. These are a few of my favourite foods…… Indian (any!), pain au chocolate, poached eggs in a bun, fish chips n peas, spag bol, fajitas, Thai (any), steak sandwiches, olives, avocado and prawn, mussels, pomegranates, Indian, carpaccio, jaffa cakes, pilchards, salt n vinegar walkers, Indian!!!! Yum, yum and thrice yum…… F- Fox Terrier I love dogs, despite annoyingly being allergic to dog hair, and my favourite breed has to be the wire-haired fox terrier, oh my god they are soooooo cute! Medium build, with curly white hair and black / brown patches, and what is technically called a ‘brick shaped head’, these little chaps are the best!! They even have beards (even the lady dogs!). If anyone has ever seen Poirot ‘Dumb Witness’, you cannot have failed to have been charmed by the fox terrier of the title, who was called Bob. Even Poirot was tempted to keep him! G- Goa One of my most magical holidays was spent in Goa. My partner and I got some cheap flights last October, and took a taxi down to the South of the state, away from all the crowds in Baga and Vagator. We hired bikes most days, and rode to various beaches, through small villages in forests where we were greeted with curious stares and wide smiles. It was just before the tourist season started and we had the beautiful white sandy beaches literally to ourselves, bar the occasional sarong seller. Goa really whetted my appetite to see more of India, and I hope this will happen in the near future. H- Hair Since a very young age I have struggled with unruly hair with a mind of its own and a tendency to turn into damp cotton wool at the slightest sign of humidity. Only now aged 24 have I started to get the hang of it (
                I still wouldn’t call it ‘manageable’), but I’ll never forget the childhood taunts of ‘birdnest’, ‘moffet’ (the only girl in school who had worse hair than me!), ‘frizzbomb’ and ‘mushroom head’ (and that was my brother!) Thankfully I have now discovered the miracle that is GHD straightening irons, which give you poker straight hair in seconds! Now I am the envy of my friends in that I can have lovely curls or sleek shiny locks….. just keep me away from the sauna!!! I – Ideal My ideal life is pretty much as follows; be a successful writer by 30 and retire to South of France with partner and wire-haired fox terrier called Boris. Maybe some sprogs. J – Juxtapose – I just think it’s a great word, no idea what it means K- The Kinks – a great band (better than the Beatles) and wrote one of my favourite songs, Shangri-La L- Love and Peace – VERY IMPORTANT! Under this heading it goes without saying that I include all of my closest family and friends and more. With a bit more love maybe this world would be a bit more peaceful. Yeah man. M- Musicals In particular, Chicago and Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat. One is pure cheese, one is poor class! Both are utterly fantastic! N- Newcastle A special fondness for this city, as I’ve lived outside of it most of my life. Yes, the Geordies do regularly say ‘Why aye man’, where negligible amounts of clothes in the middle of winter and love their football more than thei r grans, but Newcastle is also a beautiful city overflowing with history and culture. If you haven’t been, I’d strongly recommend a visit. 0- Oxford Street P- Politeness It costs nothing, so why are some people so damn rude??! Worst offenders are Saturday shop assistants and immigration at New York JFK
                airport! Hard as it is, in the face of rudeness I always try to remain polite and smile… why lower myself to the level of the perpetrator? Q- Quiet I go mad if I don’t have peace and quiet. One of my darkest times was when I lived practically on a busy road in Angel, North London, and would wake without fail at 5 every morning when the buses started R- Ralph Fiennes – a wonderful actor. (oh, and HOW sexy???) S- Squash + shopping I have recently discovered the game of squash, and am becoming rather addicted, probably due to it being the only sport I can actually play. Its such a fast, frenetic and skilled game, and I really do think it deserves a higher profile than it has. (Maybe its cos most of the courts are actually walled brick boxes with a tiny spectator gallery!). I’d love to play in one of those all-glass courts one day… when I’m a bit better. T- Tan – I feel so much more attractive with a tan, and yes it is possible to achieve a natural look from a bottle - believe me I’d know! U- Unique – to steal a quote from Ahoy (though I’m sure it wasn’t his originally) – Remember, we are all unique…. every single one of us! V- Vodka…… nuff said! W- Writing I am passionate about writing – since I was small I had short stories coming out of my ears (with a very bad habit of getting bored after a few paragraphs and starting a new one). One of my best ones was called weekend away, which was about all of my classmates, who they fancied and what bitches t hey were. I didn’t bother to change any names and my English teacher read it out in class much to their (any my) mortification! Still, I did get an A+++ Now old and boring I am a published freelance science journalist, and hope to continue writing for many years to come! X- x-chromosome Thank god fo
                r the x-chromosome, without it there’d be no make-up, no Sex and the City, and nothing for straight men to ogle at! Y- Youth Now nearly quarter of a century old, (and at the risk of a backlash from people over 30), I am painfully aware that my youth is slipping away from me, and fast!!! My friends are getting married, I read snippets in magazines saying ‘no woman over 25 should be seen dead in a miniskirt’, and I find myself enjoying a discussion on the merits of various washer-dryers…. What the hell happened! I don’t know, but I’m gonna wear a mini-skirt everyday from now on until I’m 25 while I still can! Z- Zzzzzz One of my favourite pastimes.. and if you made it this far without Zzzzzzzzz, many congrats!!! Right, better get back to work (conspicuously absent from the above list). Thanks for reading!

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                  15.07.2003 23:06
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                  (Edited - sorry Bev! I spelt your name wrong!!! ;o) ) These A-Z things look quite popular and I think it's a great way of getting to know people. So here's mine. Apologies that this is my second one in the same day - I'm in work and I'm bored. I'll refrain from doing one tomorrow!!! So let's get started! (Sorry - there's a few tenuous links in here, I don't have much imagination!!! These were not written in order, either. You can probably guess, but I did "O" last!!!) A - This was a toss-up between Australia and Aberystwyth. I'll choose the latter because I can cover Australia under Q later. Aberystwyth is the town in Wales where I was born, back in April of 1977. B - Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. This is the martial art that I study. You can read all about it in my review under the Ninjutsu section of this site. The article is called "The Art of Endurance". C - Cardiff. Between 1995 and 1998 I was at Cardiff University. I've already used up both "A" and "P" so I supposed I'd better put that I did Astrophysics here instead! D - Derby Gaol. My second paranormal investigation which at the time of writing is still just under 2 weeks away! I would have mentioned Gwrych Castle as my first, but G has already been taken!!! E - Eclipse. I was one of the million or so people who descended on Cornwall back on August 11th 1999 to watch the Solar Eclipse. Unfortunately, after travelling all that way, it was bleedin' cloudy for the duration of totality!!! It was still eerie to watch the shadow racing across the clouds towards us though, and the deafening silence it created while at totality! F - Family and Friends. Thought I'd better mention them (mainly cos I couldn't think of another "F"!!!). My mum works part time as an accountant in a local travel agents and is also doing an Open Univ
                  ersity degree. My dad is a photocopier engineer in Chester. My sister lives in Gloucester and works as an independent beauty consultant. I also have a 5 year old niece (Chloe) and a 2 year old nephew (Morgan). My four main friends are James (a purchasing manager and general rich git!), Murphy (first name: David, he builds the wings for Airbus aircraft - so don't fly A320!!! He's emigrating to New Zealand in October and I'm going to be renting his house! Also gives me another nice holiday destination!), Bevan (first name: Steven, a factory worker with two children - Jordan and Natascha) and Mark (a teacher in the west midlands). I also have to mention Sarah (Sarah_Louise) here, who got me interested in all this Dooyoo stuff and invited me to become a member of her paranormal research group! G - Guitar. I play the guitar for relaxation. Never intended to play in a band, and it's a good thing too cos after 6 years, I'm STILL awful at it! H - Hauntings. I am an amateur paranormal investigator with Sarah_Louise's North Wales Paranormal Research group. I - Internet. Yup. I'm addicted. I'm constantly being harrassed by my work colleagues to switch off Internet Explorer and get on with some work. Fat chance. J - Japan. I love Japanese history. It's fascinating! K - Kihon Happo. Yup, these links are getting VERY tenuous now! Kihon Happo is the basic fundamental eight techniques of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. My instructor is VERY big on the basics. We don't do anything fancy until we can get our basic techniques right! And too right! There are a lot of people out there who do fancy stuff but their taijutsu is poor! L - Lego. I have fond memories of collecting Lego during my childhood. It was by far the best thing a child could have grown up with! Expands the mind, you see... M - Manic Street Preachers. My third favourite band! N
                  - NWPR, or North Wales Paranormal Research to give it it's full t itle. The paranormal research group I've plugged so many times already in this document, set up by Sarah Hutchinson (Sarah_Louise) to which I now belong. O - Otonashi. Now this has to be the most tenuous of all! I am really running out of ideas now! Otonashi is Japanese for "Soundless". I am a very quiet person and only tend to speak when I've got something to say (unless I can think of some silly sarcastic comment...). P - Pink Floyd. My all-time favourite band. Many Floyd fans will be disgusted with me though, cos I am more of a David Gilmour fan than a Roger Waters one... Q - Quokkas. These are small marsupials found on Rottnest Island, Western Australia. (See, I told you I'd fit Australia in!). I went to Australia in January 2001 and stayed on this island for 3.5 weeks. They're cute little animals, although they do tend to get underfoot at night, so you have to really be careful and look where you're going. I did NOT play Quokka Soccer, by the way! R - Rugby Union. My favourite sport. Even though the Welsh team has been going down the pan for the past 20 years, I still prefer to watch this game over any other sport. It's just so brutal!!! S - Stereophonics. My all-time second favourite band. Fantastic stuff! T - Thief: The Dark Project. My favourite PC game. I like being a sneaky b*****d! Well, it's likely to hold out as my favourite game until the latest one in the series (confusingly, just called "Thief") is released! U - UFOs. My interest in the paranormal extends to UFOs too. I've only ever seen one, but I can't exactly be called a reliable witness as I was only 3 years old at the time! But it's still a fascinating subject! V - Vampires. I'm not really interested in vampires, but I couldn't think of anything else to write
                  here!!! I did watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Does that count??? <b r>W - Wales. My country. I have lived in Wales all my life and I love living here! X - X-Com: UFO Defence (or UFO: Enemy Unknown as it was known here in the UK). The game that almost robbed me of my degree! Y - Yale. I work at Yale College in Wrexham. Yale College is named after Elihu Yale, the founder of Yale University in the USA, who is buried in a churchyard in Wrexham. Z - Zebedee. I've written enough. So, BOIIIIIING! Time for bed!

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                    09.07.2003 20:18
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                    Seeing as I’m fairly new to Dooyoo and people don’t know that much about me, I thought I’d do my own A-Z as I’ve just read quite a few others. Here goes… A – A is for Anxious. Anxiety used to be a real enemy of mine, although I think I’ve more or less got the wild beast tamed. Anxiety in small amounts can actually be a positive thing as it can give you the adrenaline to go and make a change, but too much can have a rather paralyzing effect. B – B is for Books. I’ve always loved them and can’t imagine a day when I won’t be enthralled by the feeling of a new cover under my fingertips. Hardback books are definitely the best – especially those quaint ones which come complete with their own ribbon bookmark. Libraries are heaven. C – C is for Creativity. I enjoy nothing more than working with my mind or my body in a creative way. Writing is perhaps my greatest love, but I also enjoy baking and cross-stitch. D – D is for Deep. I tend to be a rather reflective and spiritual human being. E – E is for Eating. I love food, especially cooking and creating my own. Food brings people together and is essential for nourishing both body and soul. F – F is for Fun. There’s nothing better than having a good time and we should all make more time for it. G – G is for Gender. Gender is something that has fascinated me for a long time and most of my linguistic research is related to the subject in some way. H – H is for Home. Home is very important to me and though I love travelling I also relish returning home. I love people who make me feel at home. I – I is for Indie. Indie music is my favourite genre by far and such bands have added real sparkle to my life. J – J is for Jane. My mother’s name and my middle name – what more can I say?! Oh yeah, also the name of
                    an inspirational tutor at university. K – K is for Kissing. With the right person, oh how I love it! ;o) L – L is for Love. The most important and powerful force there is. I love being in love, but haven’t been for a while… M – M is for Madeline. It’s my name and I don’t mind it at all. N – N is for Nutmeg. Added to rice pudding, cheese sauce or mashed potato it tastes wonderful! O – O is for Observant. Not unrelated to my love, and writing of, poetry. P – P is for Poetry. My favourites are Carol Ann Duffy, Adrienne Rich, Sylvia Plath, Sharon Olds, Jo Shapcott, Peter Redgrove and Alice Walker. Q – Q is for Quiz. Pub quizzes are brilliant – though I have to say I’m pretty poor at the sports questions! R – R is for Reading, oh, and er, Radio 4. There’s nothing better than curling up with good fiction or lying in bed at night listening to a play. S – S is for Student. I’m academic by nature and have often been ‘accused’ of wanting to be the ‘eternal’ student. Just finished a BA and got a First. My MA in Literary Linguistics starts this autumn. Can’t wait. :o) T – T is for Thesaurus. No one should be without one! The bigger the better…I recommend an Oxford one. U – U is for University. I can’t seem to stay away from them! Sheffield University rocks. V – V is for Violet. African Violets are beautiful and the colour is my favourite. W – W is for Writing. I’m certainly better at communicating by written word than by mouth – which I guess is slightly worrying! I enjoy both personal and academic writing. X – X is for eXercise. Walking is perhaps the least grueling and most relaxing, but lately I’ve become a fan of swimming too. Y – Y is f
                    or yoghurt . A healthy way to snack if you’re craving chocolate. Z – Z is for Zzzzz. I’m really cranky without at least nine hours sleep…

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                      11.06.2003 01:34
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                      A is for Alopecia Areata - a condition I developed last year. It is an auto-immune disorder considered to be genetic but can be triggered by severe shock/stress which is what happened to me. Basically the immune system turns on itself and starts attacking the hair leaving small (or large) bald patches). There may only be one or many can develop. Currently I have about 7. I am lucky that I have extremely thick waist length hair and therefore it isn't noticeable. For me this was my greatest fear come true as I used to have nightmares about my hair falling out when I was little. Alopecia Areata (AA) can progress to Alopecia Totalis (AT) which involves total hairloss on the head to Alopecia Universalis which is complete hair loss on every part of the body. These are not as common as AA. I have disovered now that if I am run down or stressed my hair falls out a lot more. As soon as I am stable again mentally and physically the patches start to grow back so for me it involves a lot of rest and avoidance of anything too stressful. There is no cure for AA. Treatments are available, most of which involve steroids. My doctor is lovely and knowing how reticent I am about using conventional treatment immediately referred me to a homeopath on the NHS. A also for animals who have always played a huge part in my life. I believe every creature on this planet deserves our respect. A also for Anxiety - something I have had to learn to live with A also for Avebury - one of my favourite places on Earth. A also for Australia - a place my friend has gone to for a year and where I want to visit! B without doubt is for Buffy which I happily admit to being obsessed with. Scripts, characterisation and storytelling are just perfect. There is so much that I can relate to in Buffy and it can move me from laughter to tears - often within the space of minutes. Just amazing and about to be sorely missed. B also for Breeding - something I never intend to do and some
                      thing for which people should have to get a licence for! B also for Books because I couldn't live without them. I love to read. I want to learn to speed read so that I can read as many books as possible in my lifetime - and remember them! C is for Courses. I love to learn and apart from my degree have also been on courses to learn Spanish (poorly - lol), Reiki, Shamanic Healing, Counselling and Pottery. Currently I'm on a scriptwriting course. C also for computer - I cannot be without mine. C also for countryside - where I am happiest C also for Conspiracy - So much is being hidden from us. I believe those we perceive to be in power are just puppets of those who have the real power (i.e money). D is for Dreams. I have had vivid dreams since childhood and believe they are greatest gift we have for self understanding and awareness. Dreams offer new ways of thinking about things, solutions to conflict, ways of working through trauma and of course creativity. I have been doing dreamwork with others for the last 15 years and run a website on the subject. E is for Eddie Izzard who's sheer comic genius has me roaring with laughter. He can brighten any day for me. Not to mention the fact he's rather cute too ;-) E also for Evolution which I'm sceptical about E also for Eccentricicity of which I bare some traits! F is for Friends with whom I would not be without. To share laughter and tears is the most precious of experiences. F also for Freedom - I protect mine savagely. G is for Ghost - the name of my beautiful pure white cat who passed away last year G also for Ghosts - Too many experiences with them to count. G also for Garden - I wish I had a huge one but content myself with a large balcony. G also for Glastonbury - another favourite place H is for Horses - obviously! My passion since childhood I fall in love with every horse I see. They can move me to tear
                      s with their grace and nobility. I cannot afford to ride or have one of my own so I content myself with stopping the mounted police in town to pet the horses -the police here are used to me now! H also for Health - I have discovered how true the saying is that you have everything if you have your health. H also for honesty. If people were honest with themselves first, honesty with others would come much easier! H also for Hubble - the craft that has brought us back such awe-inspiring pictures of space. I is for Imagination - the ability that makes life bearable. I believe every child should have their imagination tenderly cultivated and explored. Without imagination we are nothing. I also for Idealist as I am one. Without idealist the world cannot progress and simply accepts what currently is. I also for Individuality - sheep (the human kind) irritate me I also for Intelligence - It's not about education it?s about how you use your mind. J is for Journey which is how I see life. A journey without a fixed destination. J also for Jackdaws - I love their cheeky nature K is for Kate Bush - a Goddess and a musical genius K is for Kiss - it's been a long time! K is for knowledge which is not the same as understanding! L is for Luka - my darling dog who passed to the Summerlands last year. She taught me the true nature of profound unconditional love and grief. I will miss her for the rest of my life. L is for Love - it keeps the world alive. L also for Lavender - my favourite plant. M is for Musician. It started when I was five playing the recorder and singing along to Abba. Now I have completed my first album and have started the next. I sing nearly all the time at home. I play recorder, whistle, clarinet, guitar and piano. After some scepticism I found computer music programmes to be incredibly creative and now I can include sounds and instruments I cannot play in real life.W
                      riting music is not a hobby for me. Like writing prose it's something absolutely essential for my survival. If I don't create I get sick. I hear the songs in my head before I write them and they don?t shut-up until they are complete. Music is a universal language. M also for Money. Always desperate for more of it yet can't wait to see a world where money no longer exists. M also for M theory which I desperately want to be able to understand! N is for Nana - she inspired me to be true to myself N also for Night - I'm such a night owl. I feel more peaceful and more creative at night. I rarely sleep before 2am. Sometimes when I'm going through an insomnia patch I stay up all night then sleep during the day. The only trouble is I also love early mornings but my body refuses to comply with doing both nowadays! N also for New York - a place I want to visit one day O is for Opera - something I just can?t make myself listen too although I think I should. P is for Pagan - a spiritual path I have followed for 20 years P is for privacy - something I value greatly P is for potential. I want to use mine and I want the human race to wake up, grow up and use ours. P also for Politics which I loath. Nobody ever tells the truth, it's all corrupt. I vote Green as they are the only party who seem to have any relevance to the world and what I believe in. If no one Green is represented in my area I would rather not vote at all. Q is for Questioning. Mine is a questioning nature. I love to ask people questions. I always have questions to ask about everything! For me it's not about finding the right answer, it's about finding the right question. Q also for QUIET - please! Why is it as soon as the sun comes out everyone turns their music up? R is for relaxation - something I find difficult to do but it's getting easier. R also for Reggae - can't stand it. As soon as
                      I hear it my stomach literally sinks. S is for Solitude - If I don't get enough I get sick S also for Smile - we need to smile at each other more T is for Tarot. I worked as a clairvoyant for several years and my cards were my way of connecting to the client. I love them to bits, have several packs and still use them now to either read for myself or for meditation/creating stories. T also for talking. I love to talk and I wish people would talk to each other a bit more. T also for travel because it really does broaden the mind. T also for touch. I'm a tactile person and a gentle touch or hug can make all the difference to someone. U is for Universe. When I look up at the stars I don't feel small. I feel part of something profound and complex and beautiful. I am fascinated by what is beyond what we can see. U also for UFO's. Logically it makes no sense to me to think among the trillions of planets we are the only inhabited one. It also makes no sense to think we are the only 'intelligent' species. I do think we've been visited. I do think the governments are keeping a bunch of stuff from us. I do hope that in my lifetime we will get that news flash that finally confirms 'we are not alone'. I'll be the one at the front of the queue trying to get off the planet! U also for Uffington - where the Whitehorse is. V is for vegetarian. I?ve been one for 20 years. I don't understand meat eating and I don't tolerate it well either. Animal rights, health, conservation and human ethical considerations are all part of my decision to not eat meat. V also for Vet - I wanted to be one until I realised how bad I was at chemistry and physics. Did you know you have to get more A'levels than you do to be a doctor? W is for Witch which is what I am. I've been practising since I was 15 but was one without knowing long before that. W also for Writer - one o
                      f those too. Have had some success recently and just awaiting the publishers final decision on a book I?ve written with 6 other authors. Fingers crossed! W also for War which shows we as a race are still incredibly stupid. War is never an option. X is for Xenophobics - this world has too many of them. Y is for Yes - a word I should say more often Y also for yellow - a colour I wouldn?t be seen dead in. Z is for Zodiac. I've been doing astrology for around 12 years or so and it is an amazing tool for personal development and developing awareness. I believe the energies of the planets ? not to mention asteroids, stars etc. can be felt and can influence us towards certain behaviours. However I don't believe these are 'fated'. For me choice is always part of the process, we choose how we express those energies. Okay once I started I couldn't keep to using one word per letter!

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                        05.06.2003 02:28
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                        It's harder to write an A to Z description of yourself than it looks, I can tell you - I mean, how many significant Qs have you got in your life...but after much brain racking and pondering, here I go with my list... A A is for AHRB or the Arts and Humanities Research Board. The reason I include these lovely people is because they are giving me money (always a good reason to like someone I feel!), enough to pay my university fees and give me a small maintenance grant for the time being. With this money I can afford to become the eternal student and spend yet another 3 years at university doing a PhD...and put off getting one of those job things for a good while longer. A is also for archaeology, the subject of my first degree and a continuing interest of mine (which you may perhaps have noticed from some of my reviews) despite the fact I am no longer directly involved in it on a day to day basis. Although I once hoped to make a career in archaeology, I am currently taking a detour through the museum world; after all, an archaeologist's career is always in ruins! Ahem. B B is for books, which I read a lot of both for pleasure and in the course of my research. It is also for Brains, which I think I am supposed to have some of, given my occupation. That is highly debatable though. C C is for caffeine, that wonderful chemical that gets me going in the morning and which keeps me awake through long seminars, and I suppose for Coke, the drink that provides it. C is certainly not for Coffee in my life though, as I cannot stand the stuff - it is the devil's drink in my opinion! And of course, C is also for Ciao where I spend a fair bit of my free time. D D is for dooyoo (of course) and Dave - my significant other - and also for Durham, the city where we both went to university and where we met in our first year. We are now living together in Newcastle (more on that later) but do still pop int
                        o Durham on a regular basis as it is only down the road from here. Dave is, like me, an archaeologist by first degree - so yes, we are both poor, but what is poverty when you are highly trained in digging holes in muddy fields? E Following on rather nicely is E for Excavation - what archaeological types do in said muddy fields. Yes, excavation, that giant, fiendish jigsaw puzzle of the past that torments us because there are pieces missing (but you don't know which ones), and that you can't cheat at by looking at the picture on the box. It is an art based around delving through the remains of dead people's rubbish while trying to find answers to questions that are often unattainable. The world of excavation is populated by alcoholics, nutters, eccentrics, masochists and other strange people who are often dressed like tramps. It is hard work and poorly paid (if you get paid at all), and leaves you open to sunburn, insect bites, bad backs, sore knees, hangovers and blisters. Often I have even had to pay the dig director for the pleasure of being on site. But I still like it! F F is for Flossie, the cat that I had at 15, who was adopted by my mother when I moved up to the frozen north. She came from a Cats Protection League shelter, having been abandoned at a young age because she has epilepsy and had remained in the shelter for quite some time for the very same reason. We never found it much of a problem though, and learned to cope with her fits by putting blankets and padding in the areas where she slept so she would not injure itself when she had a fit. It doesn't seem to have harmed her though, as she is still going strong as a grand old lady of 10! G G is for the Gap year that I had between graduating from Durham in summer 2000 and starting my MA in Newcastle in September 2001. The Gap was not for travelling or "discovering myself" as many students do, but was rather a financial necess
                        ity to allow me to afford to continue my education. I spent most of the time working in my local Library, but also managed to find time to do some Voluntary work. H H is for Holiday, which is something that I haven't has for a very long time! My last Holiday was a trip to Copenhagen for my 21st birthday, which I have very fond memories of. I was only there for 3 days, but managed to visit the Danish National Museum (which is absolutely fantastic if any of you ever get the chance to go there, BTW) and the world famous Tivoli Gardens. I was also hoping to pay a visit to Lejre, which is a kind of open-air museum specialising in archaeological reconstructions - but found it had closed for the winter the day before I arrived in the city. I was very disappointed, and Lejre is still high on my list of places to visit. I I is for Ipoints, one of the things I do on the Internet each day, and have done for well over two years now. Ipoints is one of the more successful sites that offers you the chance of saving up points (earned from visiting websites, buying through their site, etc) to exchange for vouchers or other freebies. The Internet is also something I would be lost without, both for research and for pleasure - I simply don't know what I did with my time before I discovered it! J J is for Japanese art - more precisely the art print of The Great Wave of Kanagawa, that I have hanging in my living room. The original was painted by Hokusai Katsushika in 1831 and you can see it by visiting: http://www.deskpicture.com/DPs/Art/HokusaiWave_1.html. It is a well known and classic piece of Japanese art and depicts our vulnerability when faced with the power of nature. K K is for Karma, the belief that your destiny is determined by your actions. Although I am neither a Hindu nor a Buddhist, I think there is a lot to be said for it - I suppose in a way it is the same as the Christian saying about the mil
                        ls of God, in essence. Basically, I l ike the idea that if you are good, good things will come to you, but if you hurt and abuse people then a bad fate will befall you. It is a huge incentive to be kind and caring to those around you, I think. L L is for library assistant, as I used to be one during my year out between degree one and my MA. Libraries are populated by two distinct species - the librarian (professionally qualified, more important, higher pay) and the assistants (similar role but less important and much lower pay). The assistants look after the main issuing desk (which means they check books in and out, take fines, renew loans and help out members of the public), and shelve returned books - they may also repair books and work on enquiry desk if the library is large enough to have one. Your role in this job falls somewhere between being a shop clerk, supermarket shelf stacker, admin assistant and receptionist! I enjoyed my time in this job, not least because it meant I was exempt from library fines and got free loans of the CDs and videos - which to me were fantastic perks. M M is for my MA in Museum Studies. I was on this course for one year (finishing last August) and found out just the other week that I have passed with merit (but 1 mark short of a distinction - grrrrr!). The museum studies course is an approved training program and the MA is professionally recognised by the Museums Association, which I suppose makes me a professionally qualified museums person. It probably also means that one day someone will let me loose in charge of their valuable collections. Now there is a scary thought for you. N N is for Newcastle upon Tyne, my adopted city and location of my university. What do you think of when you here the word "Newcastle"? The football? The Tyne Bridge? The nightlife? The Angel of the North? (Although the Angel is actually in Gateshead, many people still persist on thinkin
                        g it is this side of the river!). Well, yes, Newcastle is these things, but it is also a lot more - although I am sure many students choose to come here as it is repeatedly voted one of the party capitals of Europe? But not the Culture Capital, apparently. Bah. But still, we have the Centre for Life, the Hancock Museum of Natural History, the Discovery Museum, the Millennium Bridge (the one that it IS safe to walk on!), the Opera House and the brand new Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Added to this, the city is currently sprucing up the old part of the city centre known as Grainger Town, which has the biggest concentration of listed buildings anywhere in England outside Bath. (And a very good job they are doing of it too I must say; some wonderful architecture is being restored). Its not all grim up north, you know. O O is for Open University. No, this is one I haven't been to, but it has still played a significant role in my life, as my mum has just completed her degree there after 8 years of study. I'll be going to her graduation in the summer. P P is for PhD and also Parents. My PhD is a 3 to 4 year course (as in you are supposed to complete within 3 years, but are allowed a "year of grace" in case of any problems in your work) that will make me a doctor of museology if I pass. You spend the 3 years engaged in a personal research project that aims to add something new and original to your field of work, which is a very daunting though in your first year, I can tell you. I would not be here without the support of my wonderful Parents or the money awarded to me by the AHRB. Q Q is for Quiet. Why? Because that is a tag I have been getting from people all my life ? I am always "the quiet one" who does not talk much. I'll admit that I am not the best person in the world at talking to people, but this is why I love ciao so much, as I can express myself much better through wri
                        ting than I can through speech. R R is for Redwings Horse Sanctuary. This is a shelter for abandoned, neglected and unwanted horses and ponies in Norfolk, and although I have never been there, I have been a supporter of its work for several years now and have "adopted" a horse called Ben. Keeping to this theme, R is also for RSPCA, another animal welfare organisation that I am a member of, and have been for about 15 years now. I started off as a junior member when I was still in primary school and participated in their award scheme for young people interested in conservation, earning their bronze and silver awards by collecting points from activities such as collecting litter, planting trees and putting up bird houses. As an adult member, my activities are more along the lines of donations (when I can afford to, which is not as often as I would like), filling in petitions and writing letters to my MP. S S is for Sharon, my first name. My mother chose it because she wanted to name me after the Rose of Sharon, but personally I can't stand it. It is hopelessly unfashionable for one thing (as I read in one "what your name means" article, it went to Benidorm in the 1970s and never came back again). The other thing is that since the God awful "Birds of a Feather" was on TV it has become associated with stupid Essex girls, and I have had endless jokes on this matter since I was in school. Mind you, I suppose it didn't help that one of my best friends in school was a girl called Tracey? T T is for Tarantula, something I am absolutely petrified of. Well, you would expect that in someone with arachnophobia, wouldn't you? (Although perhaps these days Iraqnophobia would be more accurate-? the fear of an unjustified war). U What else could U be for but University? I have spent enough time in them by now! I suppose it could also be for peter Ustinov, who was the chan
                        cellor at my graduation at Durham, so I got to meet him and hear his excellent (and very funny) speech. V V is for Voluntary work. I worked as a volunteer with the National Trust for many months during my year out (as well as having my library job), and I absolutely adored it! My plan was originally to volunteer for my local museum to gain some relevant experience before starting my MA, but they could not offer me a place - instead I applied to the NT?s long term volunteer scheme, who managed to find me a perfect position in my local property, Erddig Hall. The hall was a 17th/18th century building with some truly remarkable collections, and I was fortunate enough to get in "behind the scenes" working on conservation cleaning and learning about the catalogues, stores and environmental monitoring system as well as doing front of house work as a room steward. As well as being a thoroughly enjoyable experience, I am hoping this time will prove to be valuable when I do eventually get around to getting a job. W W is for Wrexham, my home town, and for Wales the country that I was born in. Wrexham is one of those places that many people have heard of but no one can really place - I have heard people locate it in Cheshire, Shropshire, The Valleys and even the Midlands - but I would like to confirm that it is in fact in north east Wales, in the county formerly known as Clwyd. Its not in Clwyd any more, as the powers that be decided a few years back to have a bit of local government reorganisation and invent a whole set of new counties, on the basis that in several decades time the cost of doing this would have been paid off in savings, and the country would be much better off. The only problem is, no one noticed. People still think Wrexham is in Clwyd. Which I suppose is in a way better than trying to explain that it is in Wrexham County Borough now as it is such a ridiculous name. X X would have to be for X-ray,
                        which I had when I broke my wrist after falling off a climbing frame. Well, I was only 6 at the time. Y Y is for Ysbyty Bronglais, which was the hospital in Aberystwyth where I was taken when I broke my arm (and also where I had my X-ray, of course). Always the master of crap timing, I managed to break my arm when we were on holiday, meaning I spent most of my summer break in traction and that we ended up going home early. Z And finally, Z is for my Zen rock garden. Not a real full-sized garden as I live in a flat, but rather a miniature compensation for one that sits in my bedroom. The keeping of a Zen garden is a Japanese tradition that dates back as far as 3000BC, and is intended to help the owner open their mind and view the world from a different perspective. They are often found in Zen monasteries, and reflect the Zen Buddhist desire to turn away from the life of the world and find our true and essential natures. I haven't found mine yet, but I'll keep you posted. ;-) (Not sure about the categories below. I really couldn't say if I was value for money or whether I would purchase myself again...so you had better ignore them.)

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                          04.06.2003 20:53
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                          I hope by reading this you will learn a little bit more about me. Enjoy! A - Aerobics. Once a week I have a healthy day where I go to an aerobics class and work off all the tea and biscuits I've eaten the rest of the week. It's also a day where I get to speak to other grown-ups and stretch my vocabulary beyond goo-goo and gaa-gaa. B - Barry, my husband and best friend rolled into one. We have been together for 7 years and married for 4. He is 32 (3.5 years older than me). We met through a mutual friend who arranged a blind date for us. Glad to say it was a complete success. They really can work out. I was a bit dubious at first though as I had just come out of a really bad relationship and had no desire to get involved with another bloke. My mum always told me to marry someone like my father that way nothing will go wrong. She was right, Barry is like my dad, apart from the bald head and ZZ Top beard. Joking aside, Barry looks after the kids and me and always puts us first. And he loves me unconditionally, just like my daddy. C -Children. I have been blessed with two beautiful kids - Gemma aged 5 and Craig 6 months. They mean the world to me and I love them to bits. Although it isn'T easy being a parent there are so many rewards. There's nothing sweeter than your own child saying, "I love you mummy" even when you have been a grouchy old bag. Priceless. D - Diets. Over the years I have tried to lose weight especially since having the kids. At the moment I am on two diets, as I can't get enough to eat on one. Hee hee. Seriously though, I have come to realise that diets are all in the mind. I am never happy when on one, I seem to get so obsessed with food and beat myself up over eating a bar of chocolate. Before I got pregnant with Craig, I joined my local Rosemary Conley class and it was brilliant. Because it involved exercise, my downfall, I began to lose a lot of weight. Although I still need
                          to lose a few pounds, I'm no longer obsessed. I am still breast-feeding so cannot diet; I just watch what I eat. E - Engagement. When Barry and I were in Cyprus one year, we went on a mini-cruise to Egypt and Israel. While in Israel we visited a diamond factory in Bethlehem. Out of the blue Barry asked if I was to choose a ring which would I go for? After lots of bumming and aching I pointed to one and he said that as we were there we might as well buy it. I was gob-smacked. When we got home from our holiday he hid the ring until the anniversary of when we met and he took me out for a meal. He asked the barmaid if she could place my ring at the bottom of my glass when she brought our drinks through. I could see Barry looking in my glass and he was looking increasingly worried. I had no idea what was going on. He disappeared for a little while and he asked if I wanted another drink. I?m not a heavy drinker and I could feel myself getting a little tipsy so I declined. But he persuaded me to have another. The barmaid had clearly forgotten to put my ring in the glass; either that or they wanted to get more money out of us. I eventually saw something glistening at the bottom of my glass and gasped. Barry then got down on one knee and proposed. Luckily for him after all the trouble and expense he went to I said yes. F - Friends, in my opinion are hard to find, so when you get a good one, hold onto them. I have a few close friends - Jill who I've known since leaving school and Karen an old work colleague. Our babies are the same age so we meet up once a week for a chinwag and an escape from housework. My best friend, Nicola died 5 years ago from cancer. It really hit me hard when she went. Especially as we all thought she was getting better. After doctors operated on her the cancer spread into her lungs. She was only 22. I still miss her loads, but know that she is up there watching over me. G - Ginger. When I was pregnant with Craig I
                          used to eat bucket-loads of ginger to try and ease my heartburn. Ginger bread, ginger beer, ginger biscuits, you name it. I suffered from it the whole nine months until the day he was born. Now I hate ginger, the smell is enough to turn my stomach. When I was pregnant with Gemma, I had a craving for prawn crackers with ice-cream (together). I still like these two things, but I eat them on their own now, not mixed up. Crazy or what? H - Holidays have always been fun. The best ones I've had are in Cyprus. Barry and I were married there and if we could afford it I would emigrate there. I have a lot of happy memories about childhood holidays with my parents. We bought a caravan not too long ago, so most of our holidays will be spent touring with that. I - In-laws. Why are the jokes about mothers-in-law aimed at men? I think women get a worst deal with mothers-in-law. I used to like mine until I married Barry and had the children. We try to keep things amicable for the kids? sakes, but it isn?t easy especially as they are so different to my parents. What makes it harder though is that they live right at the back of us. Too close for comfort you might say. J - Julia. For those of you who don't know this is my name. Most people call me Jules. I quite like my name as it isn't as common as Julie and I was named after my mum's best friend. When I was young I always knew I was in trouble as my mum used to yell "Julia?"instead of Jules or Ju. That's still the case today and I'm 28. K - Keys. I am always losing mine. For Christmas one year my husband bought me one of those gadgets that you whistle at and it lets you know where your keys are. I still managed to lose them, so much for that attempt. I am terrible. Anytime I go out I spend half an hour scouring the house looking for them so am always late. I am a nightmare. L - Libra, my star-sign. I was born in October and suppose I am a typical
                          Libran. I can never make my mind up and I am quite levelheaded. M - Mum. My mum and I are extremely close. She is always there for me and I often see her during the week just to catch up on everything. She has just turned 60, yet you wouldn't know that by looking at her. She's the youngest looking OAP I know and she hasn't had one face-lift. I hope I look as good as her when I reach 60. N - Nights out. What are they? Haven't had one of them since I first got pregnant. But from what I remember of them, I?'m not missing out on much. Socialising now consists of having a few friends round for a few drinks. I don?'t miss waking up on a Sunday morning with a stinking hangover. O - Operation. When I was 17 I was in the T.A (Territorial Army) and during an open day at the local gala, I fell off the top of a death slide (20ft). I ended up with a shattered kneecap, fractured wrist and fractured ankle. I spent 3 weeks in hospital and had an 11-hour operation to fix my knee. I have a metal plate in my leg, which will stay there for the rest of my life. I had metal fixator pins in my wrist to mend the fracture and have lovely scars to boot. Luckily my injuries have healed and I am back to normal. P - Pregnancy is something I never enjoyed. I am sad to say that I never ever felt like I was blooming. I hated feeling like an elephant, although it was nice getting fussed over. That all stopped as soon as the baby was born. I was sick the whole time and couldn't keep any food down. Giving birth was a breeze compared to being pregnant. Q - Quiet time for me is 8pm when the kids are tucked up in bed. Sometimes I like to unwind in the bath with some bubbly (bubble bath, not champagne) and some candles burning for a nice atmosphere. After a long soak I like to cuddle up to Barry on the sofa. I look forward to this time every night. As much as I love the kids, it is important to spend quality time with your partn
                          er. R - Reading. I enjoy reading in bed in the morning before Gemma gets up for school. At the moment I am reading Bridget Jones' diary. I love this book and I have read it 4 times already. In some ways she reminds me of myself. Especially the big, comfy pants! Only joking by the way. This was just a test to see if you were still reading this. S - Summertime is my favourite time of the year. I seem to thrive in the sunshine. I like waking up in the morning to the sound of birds singing and the sun shining, although this is a very rare occurrence as it's usually overcast and rainy. T - Time. Isn't it funny how once you get to the age of 21 the years begin to fly past? I never believed that until the fateful day I was that age. I have noticed it more after giving birth to Craig. He is 6 months already and it only feels like yesterday his sister was born. It is really scary. U - Unhealthy. I have an unhealthy obsession with anything chocolate. It goes as far as buying chocolate scented soap and more recently a chocolate scented plant. I haven't gone so far as eating either of them yet, but when desperation sets in then?s the time to worry. V - Vermin - Hate rats and mice with a vengeance. The office where I used to work was located next to a block of stables and rats used to run riot around the grounds. Quite often I would come face to face with one of the little blighters and I would always end up running in the opposite direction. My daughter keeps asking for a hamster, but I can't stomach this idea. She would start off being the perfect pet-keeper, but who would end up looking after it once she's bored. Muggings here! Anything small and furry? Hate 'em. Much prefer dogs. W - Work. I am not currently working as I have decided to take time out after having my second child. I have a lot of regrets after returning to work after Gemma was born and I missed out on so much. I was dete
                          rmined not to make the same mistakes again, so a full-time mum I am and I love it. I'm lucky that we are financially stable and can afford to stay at home. I know other mums out there are not so fortunate and I feel sorry for them. I used to work in a bank for 6 months before I had Craig. Before that I spent 6 years working as a credit controller for a horrid man. Looking back I can't believe I stuck it that long. X - X-rays. I had a few of these following my accident in the TA. (See O). Y - Yippee! Nearly finished. Ok a bit of a cheat, but I have worked really hard on this and I've changed my mind so many times while writing. Phew! Almost time for a rest. Z - Zzzzz! ? Can I go to sleep now? I feel wrecked after writing this. It all looks so easy, but it's not. Thanks for reading this. I look forward to reading some more of your reviews. Julia x

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                            09.05.2003 02:41
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                            What with me in and oot (Naaaaaaaaaarthern expression) of these sites like a fiddler's elbow, I'm surprised that anybody slips me into their COF. Aaaaaaaaaanyhow, as it looks like I'm back by..erm...popular demand (thanks to my one fan) I may as well avail you of my A-Z. Needless to say, this is a very serious journey so be prepared with your lexicon of luuuurve or...erm....dictionary or samfink like that. Actually, I did post an A-Z on Ciao a while back but it went AWOL on account of my closing my account. So if you read that one, this one's different. A = Anal probe. Yep, there came a time when having watched too much SouthPark, I did a Cartman and was abducted by aliens. This may come as something of a surprise too you but it really did happen. One minute I'm watching I'm a Celebrity get me out of here, the next this light's shining in me back garden. Anyway, I'm whisked into the air and promptly, an alien device in inserted into my.... Of course, A also stands for Aston Villa, my beloved footie club of over 30 years and for my lovely wife, Alison (which feels like 30 years). B stands for banker. I've been a banker for too many years to mention although I do wish my online friend, Jimblob could say it without mispronouncing it every time. I suppose I went into banking because I always wanted a job with security after something of an unstable childhood. Thing is, I'm still unstable now, what with my psychopathic tendencies and the like. B can also stand for Blackpool and..erm...Birmingham where I was born and bred. I mention Blackpool for no other reason than it's a very nice seaside town. C = clandestine. This would describe my first meeting with a Dooyooer (Mrs Fishbulb). Yes, our eyes met across the coffee house as we ordered deux cappuccinos. I'd asked Fishy to tell her husband all about us but she refused, preferring to take a gamble on opinionating heaven. After all, what bet
                            ter way to get to know someone than through their separate belief systems (?) Oh, C can also stand for cats as we've always had 'em and currently have 3. Yes, there's nothing I like better than stroking my pussy after a hard day at it. D = dynamo which describes lots of people that have a lot of energy and a form of engine/motor device. D also stands for dysfunctional which I can be...erm..when I'm not being functional. D can stand for Dooyoo and the fact that I've never conquered it and don't want to. D also stands for Damned as in - The Damned - probably my joint favourite band along with The Jam. Who can forget the immortal - Rat Scabies, Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible et al? E stands for every day I'm getting better and better as Frank Spencer's mom used to tell him. E also stands for Emma-Louise, my darling 10-year-old daughter who is closing in on teenagedom far too quickly for us all. F stands for family <yawn>. Yep, a tad boring I know but I have my mom and 2 brothers. My dad died a few years back. My own family includes my wifee and 2 children - James and Emma. G stands for grrrrrrrrr...for when I get real angry like when someone's said a rude word or things. G also stands for my goat - Gertie who I am quite close to especially as she makes such nice milk. H = hello there (I've gone blank). I : There's no I in team. Goddamit, another one of those American business sayings that enters our language. When will us Brits do our own thang? I is also my mom's real name - Ivy. She hates it with a passion and prefers Sue, which she uses. Sadly, money laundering regulations compel folks to use their real names these days. J = Jam, probably my favourite band of all time. The best gig I ever went to was to see them at Bingley Hall in Birmingham. Man, the place was jumping although there were a few too many mods for me (didn't you just want to shoot th
                            at target in their fish tail parkers?!) J is also for James, my beloved 7-year-old son whom I love to bits! K stands for killer which I turn into when riled. I'm quite dangerous with my vaseline in my hand. L = llama. For reasons I can't disclose, I've always had a thing for llamas and they make great videos. M: Mark which is my brother's name. Me and Mark were never really that close as kids but things are different these days as we seem to have found a common understanding since my father's death. He's a mad cabbie in Brum who seems to get by on just a few hours sleep a night. Still, he needs the dosh right now although I do try to counsel him on his workload (to no avail, tsk, brothers) N = Northampton where I live. No, I've never met Lookaround Café and he's ignoring me anyway right now. Still, we both like movies even if he does watch the odd dodgy one. Northampton is one of the fastest growing towns in the country. It has the advantage of being quite urban but within minutes you are in the country with lots of picturesque pubs within an easy drive. There are several competant reviews on Dooyoo. O = orifice. Yes, I like food and fill my hole regularly. P stands for Paul - my chosen monika. It also stands for Peterborough which is where I work as of a couple of weeks ago. It's a bit of a trek daily (88mile round trip) but I'm happy the way things have turned out...eeeeeeeespecially as it was a promotion for me!yeeeeeeaaaaargh!!! Q = Queen - a really cool rock band. R: Rumbustuous or rapacious. I suppose it could be rapscallion. I've been accused of this now and again for cheek in the fisrt degree...or was it second degree? Can't remember S stands for salacious. Yes, grandiose titles and big words could accuse one of being salacious. Personally, I don't think I am... T: Talented which I ain't..I just try. U :
                            Ubiquitous which is a lovely word. It can also stand for UB40 - a group I associate with my upbringing although, why, oh why, did they do "Red, red wine"? V = Villa, the pride of the Midlands and the greatest club in the whole of..erm..Birmingham. Come on you Villa boys - Champions League next season! (Well, I can dream can't I?) W = writing. I just love to write and would genuinely love to write properly one day. Well, you know what I mean. I'm intent on writing some proper stuff soon and seeing if I can get published. I suppose I've always loved writing stories but they simply take too long to string together otherwise I'd spend more time writing fiction. X = xenophobic i.e. what us Brits are too a large degree still. I mean, we are still one of the few races that merely speaks louder as opposed to bothering to learn another language. Y = Yeeeeeeargghhhh...this is taking too long too do!! Z stands for Zeberdee, my drug induced friend from the Magic Roundabout who had me spellbound as a kid. Hey, I can hear that theme music now....de de de de durrrrr.... Good night Marandina

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                              02.05.2003 04:39
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                              For some reason people seem to put their own A-Z’s under the “A” category. I don’t really know why but I thought I would join in! So here, for your re-viewing pleasure, is alocin’s A-Z! A: A is for the band known as A, under which people place their A-Z’s on dooyoo. I happen to quite like this band so they are my first entry. My favourite track is “Starbucks” but “Nothing” is also quite good to shout along to in the car! B: B’s are insects that pollinate flowers and make honey, but B also stands for Bambi. A wonderful film, the first Disney movie I ever saw. The bit where his mum dies is so sad! Why must kid’s films always have heartbreaking moments? Ah but he is so cute. C: C is for cat. I have two cats, one called Jasper and one called Smudge. I love them very much and am going to miss them loads when I go off to university (more than my parents!). They like to kill small creatures and leave them on the landing where I am likely to tread on them in the dark, but they can do no wrong in my eyes. Yes they do have me wrapped around their little tails. D: D is for destruction. A trail of this seems to follow me around wherever I go. If it is breakable then keep it in a safe place when I am near – mugs fall, glasses shatter, wing mirrors are knocked off and important documents have coffee spilt on them. Keep a 5m radius from me to be safe! E: E is a class A drug, but not being into such things it does not feature in my A-Z. Instead E is for energy, a characteristic I rarely possess when needed, such as now when I should be revising for my exams. E is also for exams. God I hate them. And yet I seem to have hundreds. Wish me luck in June. F: F is for flowers. I never seem to get any. Why is this? Answers on a postcard. G: G is for goat. When I was around five years old we went to a farm park. There were goats. It is a complicated st
                              ory but the result was a goat ate a large chunk of my hair. This has left me with a permanent distrust of goats, a condition difficult in this modern world where we must deal with the creatures so often. I suspect they may have something to do with my glasses going missing (see “I”). H: H is for hermit. I sometimes think that I would make quite a good hermit, not having to have pointless conversations with telesales people and communicating generally in a monosyllabic way. Then I think wait – hermits don’t get TV and I would miss then end of 24. I will found a new group of hermits who get to keep TV and computers. I: I is for seeing with. I need glasses to drive and watch TV, as my vision is OK in my left eye but very short-sighted in my right. My glasses are never where I left them – I swear someone must go around and move them when I am not looking. Why must they torment me!? J: J is for jam. I like jam a lot, although marmalade is my favourite. It is very nice in a sandwich with peanut butter, but most people make gagging noises when I describe it. It’s delicious! Jam should be pip and seed free if at all possible. K: K is for kite. Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest height! Well maybe not right now, it being dark, cold and rainy. When the weather clears up and it gets lighter so you can see power cables and the like. Kites can be death-traps you know. L: L is for law. I am planning to study law at university with the view to being a solicitor. I enjoy A Level a lot, homicide being a lot of fun. Honest it is! Law textbooks are both very heavy and expensive. A dangerous combination. M: M is for mountains. I have never seen one in real life, living in rolling Devon which is not noted for rugged mountain ranges. Disliking climbing even the smallest of hills and having a healthy fear of heights I don’t have any particular desire to correct this. N: N i
                              s for Nicola. That is actually my name. Alocin – Nicola, own up who didn’t notice before I told them? O: O is for olives. I don’t like olives. Not good enough? Ok then O is for orange juice, which I do like. Ovaltine – don’t like. Octupus - never tried. Accept it I just can’t think of anything good for the letter O. P: P is a normal bodily function, about which we do not require any toilet humour. Toilet humour, get it? He he he. Q: Q is for queuing. A great British tradition that we are very good at. I personally think that it makes my legs tired but I will join in the public lynching of anyone who queue jumps. Get to the back of the line – I’ve waited a long time to look smug about the fact that I am 12 people ahead of you! R: R is for reading, riting and rithmatic. Who came up with that? They obviously missed out the spelling part of the second one. I’m OK at the first two but my maths has seriously declined since GCSEs. I had trouble working out 10% staff discount the other day! S: S is for SARS. I just thought I would be topical to show that I pay some attention to the news! T: T would be quite nice thanks, milk and no sugar. And some digestives if you’ve got them. Ta ever so much. U: U are hopefully reading and even possibly enjoying this list. OK I might be stretching it with enjoyment, but toleration is enough for me! V: V is for voting. Not nearly enough people do these days. You have a voice so use it! People fought long and hard so that everyone could have their say. Even if you just write “You are all rubbish candidates – I abstain” on the paper you have spoken. I think there should be a box saying that which you could tick. W: W is for Wales, which is where I am hoping to go to uni. I know that this is quite sad but I think that it is really cool and exotic to have everything in two languages,
                              like fire exit signs and things. I know Cardiff isn’t exactly deepest darkest Wales but I think it’s great and am going to try and get beyond “bora da” or whatever hello is in Welsh. X: X is a very difficult letter to receive in Scrabble. I suggest cheating and trying to avoid getting it in the first place. If not then there is always “ox”. Y: Y do people put A-Z’s of themselves under the band A? I don’t know. Maybe someone could tell me in the comments? Z: Z is for zebra. I painted my desk in my room with zebra stripes. It looks very scary. Oh come on I got to the end of the list! You should be praised for doing the same!

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                                30.04.2003 05:32
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                                Well I'm not sure if the following addition is exactly what Malu had in mind when she issued the A-Z challenge:- but for a bit of fun... A is for Acne, all greasy and spotty. Best stay indoors and learn to be swotty. B is for Boil on the Bum, full of pus. You should not sit down on a rickety bus! C is for Clap. Mate, you know how you got it! So next time you date - please put a knot in. D is for Diet of cabbage and sprouts. Take care that the methane don't knock you right out. E is for Ego, especially when big, Can make other people feel sick as a pig. F is for Flatulence, you know what that meanz.. You have been eating too many baked beanz. G is for Gas that you take with some air in, When baby comes out to delay you from swearing. H, Halitosis - a name for bad breath. Get it fixed quickly or face social death. I's Indigestion - that's a pain in your gut. Too much curry and beer has passed through your mutt. J is for Jaundice, your skin turns pale gold Or maybe it's just the fake tan that is old. K's for the Knife that you dread to go under, But the surgeon's more scared you'll sue him for a blunder. L is for Lung, be it bronchial or cancer. Forget any dreams of becoming a dancer. M is for Measles, youll get loads of spots. What fun you can have joining up all the dots N is for Nose; if peculiarly ugly, You are not very good at your boxing or rugby. O is for Ouch when they take a blood test, 'Cos you know that the father is anyone's guess. P is for Pulse; you can tell by its rating.... She's asleep or awake in the midst of love-making. Q is for Queasy; you feel very sick. Stay close to a toilet, you may need it quick. R is for Rash caused by perfume or food, Or sometimes from sunlight or just
                                being lewd. S is for Seasonal Affective Disorder. An excuse for a holiday hard to afford-er. T is for Tantrum; the stamping is fine, If you do it on grapes and produce decent wine. U is for Ulna, in your arm, that's the bone You can damage if talking too long on the phone. V is for Vitamins A, B, C, D And raves aren't the best place to ask for an E. W is for Worms, as these can be quite drastic When they try to expel, but behave like elastic. X is for Xiphoid, where medallion man Shows off his hirsute and orangey tan. Y is for Yoga, your flexible friend. You can bite down your toenails and clean the S-bend. Z is for Zits, please do not pick these Except in the places where no-one can see. Disclaimer: Readers follow this advice at their own risk! My sincere apologies if anyone should find any of this offensive.

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                                  29.04.2003 17:30
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                                  ... aka Around theediscerning's world in 26 hobbies. Yes, another belated bandwagon gets hopped on by theediscerning, and what's more it's a repasting bandwagon, wherein everyone forgets about some ex-teenybopper band live on a main stage, and just dumps their old A-Zs from ciao onto Kate and all the readers and users at dooyoo. Ho hum. Anyway, theediscerning managed to avoid typing in "I like..." and remembered he was trying to keep up the quirk (sorry, style) of writing in the third person - as annoying as that may seem to some of you, and had some success with this op. Finally he'll get paid for the effort!! Here goes, then, starting at the beginning, and ending up somewhere else. A ~ ACTING Should be a job rather than a hobby. Should be, but for the simple fact that theediscerning (a) hasn't been discovered yet, or (b) isn't any good at it. (Or (c) lives miles from any real culture.) The nearest thing theediscerning does to a proper job, it takes up a lot of time, and is nearly always completely enjoyable. Highly recommended, though what it's like from the audience's point of view is unknown. B ~ BOOKS Ever since theediscerning started spending all his lunch money building up a library of second-hand sci-fi classics, he's always spent far too much money on books. And why not? They kept him out of trouble, and now he's having fun and making pocket money selling them online. And sometimes writing mediocre ops on them. (There'll be a space for you to reply they're better than mediocre later.) C ~ CIAOING Is that a word? It should be. (Over here it's probably a swear-word, but dooyooing begins with something else, and sounds stupid anyway.) If you're here (there? where!) reading this, then you know what it means. For theediscerning it means an hour most mornings or more, clicking through the new ops for interesting things/peo
                                  ple/titles, and sometimes writing. D ~ DRINKING Theediscerning is lucky in that he gets drunk quickly (and cheaply), but would on the whole prefer not to (get drunk, that is). Still, while there is a lot of variety on the supermarket shelves, you will always find theediscerning trying out the latest tipple. Then finding out it's not on the dooyoo database, thus losing all record of whether he enjoyed it or not. Six months later, he has to try it all over again. Shame. E ~ EATING Theediscerning is lucky in that he can eat as much as he likes, and never put on weight. (As a case in point, he's 6 foot 4 and never tops 13 stone, but then he has nare a muscle about him.) He was nearly infamous at school for polishing off any leftovers from other people's pack-ups. And he still is well-known for being a prestigious eater. One night at an Italian in Munich he polished off a wide platter of Parma ham, then ate a two-person pizza by himself. And again, he'll try most (sensible) things once, although he really should eat more vegetables. Bordering on the unusual things he's eaten are reindeer and puffin. And ostrich steaks in that home of ostriches, Peru. F ~ FLIPPING OBVIOUS-ING Theediscerning's lovely partner sometimes jokingly complains that all their afternoons spent together involve eating, drinking and making love. Work out yourself what F is for then. A holy trinity if theediscerning ever saw one, and DEFinitely another reason to not have dooyooing. G ~ GOING OUT Anywhere, anywhen. Not in the party animal meaning of going out, but any excuse for getting out of the house will brighten theediscerning's day up a lot. Even if it's to the library, where internet computers are free, and he can click on dooyoo... H ~ HAPPY, BEING Really an obvious "hobby", if a convoluted way to force it into here under H. Theediscerning isn't really terribly unhappy much of the tim
                                  e, but he enjoys being happy, and suspects everyone else could write something more sensible than he about it. So he'll move on... I ~ INTERNETTING Again, is that a word even?! Being on the internet has been rather a boon to theediscerning - finding the main op sites, then finding other web sites because of them. It was how he found out how to best sell books online, and what with all the freebies and competition prizes, he can then justify paying to go to dooyoo meets and see some brilliant people in ver flesh as 'twere. J ~ JUGGLING LAUNDROMATS The scene - breaking the ice at 6th form. The task, make a hobby up using your initials. It made no great sense then, and even less here. What's next? K ~ KISSING Well well, what a surprise. Theediscerning is rather a tactile person, if the truth is told, and obviously being a childish, leery eedjit always wants more than kissing, but even on its own, as a be-all and end-all, kissing is great. He might not be that great at it (there'll be a place for you to apply to find out later) but it's a great way to pass the day. L ~ LOVING Again, a bit close to F, but they don't have to coincide. Theediscerning has practically unconditional love for his partner, so this L comes really easy to him. He loves other things as well, which is the raison d'etre of this whole op. M ~ MONEY-MAKING Well, another surprise. Again, theediscerning certainly isn't the best at this, but can just about get by from one day to the next. And he's found some novel ways to make money along the way (novel - selling books - geddit?! Oh dear...). N ~ NATTERING Break the ice that is theediscerning's common persona and there lies a bit of a chatterbox. No, really. Mind you, at 9 o'clock the morning of writing notes for this he was stuck on some really easy letters, and this is clearly one of them. O ~ OPINIONATING Close to C -
                                  and the aborted D, but there you go. Theediscerning started out doing cinema ops for his local rag in 6th form, and eventually found the internet to be a much more fun place to be completely ignored in. P ~ PUSS-CAT No, the cat theediscerning lives with isn't ever called Puss-cat, or any other form of the word puss. And he's not even theediscerning's, but a strong bond has grown between the two that is lovely to see sometimes. Theediscerning would like to pay homage here to the feline involved, even if it can't be named for security reasons. Q ~ QUIZZES Well what else could Q possibly be - queueing?! Anyway, theediscerning is rather fond of quizzes - especially against people he can beat. He rather sticks to sitting at home and watching 15-1 and University Challenge, rather than going out to compete himself though, as losing at pop quizzes at the local always gets his gander up. R ~ RECORDS Ever since he decided the local second-hand book shop was charging too much, theediscerning has often spent his school dinner money on records, and why not? He's got far too bloody many of them, is why not. All the same, he enjoys them all - even the ones he hasn't played yet. S ~ STOCK-TAKING What?! Well, shopping for books he can read (one of these days...) then sell on. Good hobby, and who else would have thought to put "shopping" down in such novel, reward-fund-worthy way? Also... theediscerning's partner is in catering, and whenever she gets a chicken carcass home and makes a brilliant soup, theediscerning will always be on hand to take the chicken stock and it's new contents from her. There you go, two for the price of one. T ~ TRAVELLING Yes, another obvious one. Whether it has ever broadened his mind remains to be seen, but by golly theediscerning enjoys it. He has crossed off most European countries (Romania to be added to the list this coming summer, if all
                                  goes well) and really rarely sees the need to leave his great continent. Sorry all you long-distance readers, but... U ~ UXORIATING Given the chance. Go on S, marry theediscerning for all our sakes. V ~ VEGGING OUT IN FRONT OF THE TV Not done a heck of a lot by theediscerning, but these days far too many evenings are being spent watching The Box (the channel). Also, "in front of the TV" also counts when the Playstation's plugged into it as well, but that's not vegging out - some of these games are hard...! W ~ WALKING Principally theediscerning does most of this when he's on his travels, but he hardly ever took public transport when he was over a mile from the city centre and university he was at. Mind you, with his lovely, shapely, long (and sexy!)(?) legs, he gets where he's going in no time - hopefully coming across some forgotten change at the time. Also, you can't go shopping without walking, either. X ~ THE UNKNOWN X always stands for the unknown. Meaning theediscerning doesn't know what to put here either. Y ~ YELLING Yes, theediscerning is good at embarrassing himself and other people - his voice is rather strident at the quietest of times. He knows how to complain alright. Z ~ ZOD OFF, THIS LETTER'S DIFFICULT, AND YOU GOT 2 UNDER S ANYWAY. Oh alright, then... Z ~ ZEDDING Theediscerning has always been one for sleep, nine hours a night is possible. Shocking, but true. 'Night night. (Zedding, as in "zedding hogs", as in Bed by Jim Cartwright, as starring theediscerning, the last time he needed to engage in A. So we're right back to the beginning, haven't gone anywhere, and the introduction is now tosh. As was the rest, if the truth be told. Theediscerning's one major hobby is the movies, and he completely forgot about that when he made his notes. So there. Still, there&
                                  #39;ll be an empty box soon for your comments - much like the cinema he watches his films in, but not as dark.)

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