Thoughts and scribblings of an overactive mind.

Idle thoughts


So, there’s a project in the US to reverse engineer a dinosaur from a chicken. Nuts, I hear you say. Well, not necessarily.

I was thinking about this because after watching my chickens this morning. A butterfly happened to flit through their run and they both immediately turned into velociraptors. Now I see the dinosaur in them all the time, but right there in that moment you could really see it – the way they leapt in the air, making a little predatory snapping noise, it was fascinating.

There’s also been a study of some fossilised T-Rex DNA which has been cross-matched with the DNA of living animals. The one it’s the closest to? The humble chicken.

The next time you see a chicken, take a moment to watch it, to really watch it. Forget, if you can, that it’s a “daft” chicken. Forget all the chicken stereotypes, forget comedy chicken costumes, forget the movie Chicken Run – watch it as an animal. Imagine it in a lush forest. Watch the way it walks, the way it bobs its head and searches for food. Look at its scaly legs and feet. You’ll see it.

Now, the Chickenosaurus project in America could be called ethically dubious by some. They’ve manipulated the DNA of chicken embryos and switched on characteristics that had previously been switched off by evolution. So they’ve developed embryos with snouts instead of beaks, with clawed arms instead of wings. It’s all fascinating stuff. They haven’t yet developed one to the stage of hatching it, but I actually hope that they do. I really do.

Call it playing God or screwing with nature, I don’t care. I think it would be amazing.

What do you think?



Well, here we are again. First of January 2013 was the last time I posted on here, three and a half years ago. And look at what I’m going on about! Change! I’m going to change, blah blah, I mean it, blah blah.

What a load of bleeding old rubbish! 

For those who haven’t been in my life, I’ll fill you in. I haven’t change. I’m still the dictionary definition of procrastination and the poster boy for never seeing anything through. Okay, I’m older, I have a few grey hairs now (less than 5% of the total my hairdresser tells me, so no need to reach for the Grecian 2000 just yet), I own a house and I’m married. But the core of who I am: exactly the same.

This does irritate me, because I do want to improve. I really do get cross with myself, I get really hacked off sometimes because I tell you what, the amount of epiphanies and “shit’s gunna get sorted now” moments that I’ve had and still nothing’s changed or happened, it’s ridiculous. And those moments, they start losing their shine after a while. There’s only so many times that you can say “that’s it, I’m changing. Shit got real. Things are going to happen! #yolo” and it actually have some credibility before it just becomes a meaningless mantra.

You know I still love Ugly Betty and I still like to imagine I’m having a moment like Wilhelmina does towards the end of season 4 where she snaps out of being a bit nice and finally goes after the success and power that she so desperately wants. “I want the whole damn company”, she utters with a delightful, silky venom. I like to think I have moments like that where the metaphorical gloves come off, but the truth is it hasn’t really lead to anything fruitful yet. I have the same uninspiring job and my books still aren’t selling – #unsuccessful – so I’m obviously not doing enough.

I don’t know what it is! Why!? Why!? Why can’t I get up off of my lazy arse and get on and do something? Why do I sit on the sofa and stare at my laptop of an evening rather than switching it on and writing something? Why don’t I update my CV? Why don’t I pop into the recruitment agency on my way home? I walk right past it!

So anyway, those are my frustrations du jour. No fixes here. No thoughtful summing up paragraph at the end where I have yet another epiphany. No. No answers. Just questions. 

I say this every year…..

But this year I really mean it. And I believe I mean it too. This year, things will change. It’s time for me to change I think. Not to dwell or linger on anything for too long but I’ve gone on a little bit too melancholy for a little too long now, got into some bad habits. It’s time to re-address some issues, take stock and move forwards. Onwards and upwards, leaving behind some baggage that was weighing me down. I think the problem is half the time that you carry a heavy bag for long enough and then you don’t quite now how to walk alone without it.

Maybe I’ll dye my hair. Yeah.

A change, my dear. And it seems not a moment too soon.

Shamble Bobble Dibble Dooble

Okay, the last two posts were so self pitying that I can’t even re-read them. I have moved on from self pity now, I’m now on a nice dose of self loathing. A writer’s favourite.

Sat down to write this evening. I wrote the beginning of my third promotional short story. It sucks. It stinks. I found it boring to write and boring to read. The concept is great ( thanks Steph) but the way I wrote it was awful! I can do better, I know I can. In the end I knew my heart wasn’t in it so I gave up.

Then I re-read some of my other stuff and I thought hey this is pretty good – but then I was interrupted and now I don’t have time tonight to finish what I started.

Then I get cross at myself for not doing enough. The pressure one puts on oneself is quite enormous. Writers write – if you’re a writer you should be writing and you’re not writing so you must not be a writer! But I am writing in my mind! God if you could just plug brain into computer I’d have done loads! Words can get muddled and meaning can get lost on that journey between brain and keyboard.

I’ve decided though, she’s called Edith.

I need to get more organised. I need charts and schedules and things. A PA would be great, oh and a motivation person – a life coach!!!

Right, I have to go and have a bath.

Bitter Graduate

Right. That last post got me thinking, and now I’m on a self-pitying warpath so bear with me.

University is cruel. It is. Best three years of your life, oh yes. But after? After is horrid. After is the most awful emotional process I’ve ever had to go through. I know I’m not alone, at least two people I’ve actually opened up to about this have said the same. I mean you go from being a more of less socially introverted wallflower to having these brilliant friends that become a very real family. You live with them, eat with them, cry, laugh, urinate (when drunk) together – you feel like you know yourself, like you are the person you’re meant to be.

Then it ends and everyone’s scattered. Worse, people change. People don’t seem as fussed as you are, they seem to be getting on fine whilst you have to hide the photos of all of you as it makes you feel sick to look at them.

Then you become hardened by it I think. You become cynical, a bit darker than you were. The Freudian id comes out to play. The frustration of life not being as good makes you angry, you get that fire in your belly and you become a bitch. I am SO cynical now. All that soppy cancer/war hero/animal rescue shit on Facebook makes me feel ill quite frankly. I know that’s different to how I was before, I have changed, I know I have.

Three things hold me together:

1) Andrew. He stops me from being too crazy, makes me laugh even when I’m trying to be miserable.

2) My writing. The one place I’m never cynical. My books are set at a university, I think I escape through them to that time again.

3) Steph. Because she’s the best, because she gets me and I get her.

And Christmas.

People live too far away.

New with me

It seems to me (you lived your life, like a candle….no, sorry – won’t go there,) that I haven’t blogged in a while, so I thought I would. What’s going on in my life?

Procrastination. Frustration. Christmas excitement. That about sums it up.

Steph came to see me for our fake Christmas which was lovely, we get each other exactly so it’s always so amazing to be together. Now she’s gone again so I have that slight empty sick feeling in my brain – university turned me into a gregarious creature, it does cruel things like that. Loneliness doesn’t work very well with me. I end up washing down the countertops three times a day, obsessively arranging the soap in the bathroom and talking to a pretend friend on the sofa.

I escape into my writing when I’m not exhausted from a hard day of being unfulfilled at work, and my darling Andrew is of course a constant comfort and source of enormous happiness. But partners aren’t everything are they? You need people. Chums. Pals. Mates.

Hmmm, lost the thread here. Going to start another post.

The Butterfly Effect


At the moment i am reading Andrew Marr’s “The Diamond Queen.” I’ve wanted to read it since the jubilee in the summer, but the sometimes tightwad that I am I never shelled out the cash for it. However, as we get closer to Christmas and people start to forget about how much they love the Queen once more, I happened to find Marr’s work en masse in “The Works,” apparently having found itself unloved and failing to sell. At a discount price of £3.99 though, I couldn’t help myself.

I’m only about a third of the way through and it is jolly interesting from all sorts of angles – historically, socially, patriotically and just as an interesting book for a enthusiastic young monarchist like myself. Today though I’m thinking about it in philosophical terms. Marr points out on several occasions how different our royal history might have run if such and such a thing had not happened, or had happened. The butterfly effect from within the royal family is really quite immense – the nation we now live in might have been a very different place and it was only the smallest of instances which made it what it is today. The biggest one is that the Queen was never really meant to be Queen – a fact itself predominantly due to the fact that her father, King George VI, was never meant to be king. Even when her father did become king after his brother Edward VIII abdicated (another butterfly moment) it would have seemed an extreme unlikeliness to young Liz that she would ever be queen. She would have expected to probably have a younger brother at some point who would overtake her as the heir – she certainly wouldn’t have expected her dad to die such a relatively young age as he did. Marr points out that King George could have well reigned into the 1970s had he kept his health. If that had happened then the queen wouldn’t have even yet celebrated her golden jubilee, let alone her diamond.

It just goes to show what a funny and unpredictable old man history can be. Things that we today take as such ordinary facts of life – i.e. the Queen is the Queen – have only come to pass because of relatively small decisions or occurrences. Things could have been so different, so easily.

It makes me almost fizz with excitement at the though of all those what ifs floating about in history. I read the other night that when the royal family were in the process of changing their name in WW1 they considered reusing the name “Tudor.” Imagine if that had happened!!! We’d be living in the second Tudor age! That would have been amazing!

You can’t help but then wonder, given all these historical butterflies flapping their wings, of whether similar changes are happening to our own futures. Our lives will likely never be chronicled to the extent that the Queen’s has been, we will likely never have a historian picking apart our pasts and saying whether if this had happened then actually we’d have more likely ended up living here or doing this. But it does make you think – where are even the smallest of my choices leading me? What impact will that event have on my life? We all have the potential to live a million different lives, but we only actually live one. What decisions make us live it, and why? Food for thought!

Matthew out.