My phone beeps at me…


Can i get a v tomorrow.pleeeeeease

In a quantum universe, anything is possible. Fewer things are likely.

 So ur answer is…

 Occam’s razor! What do they teach you in school?

 You should know your the teacher not me

 Yes, and tomorrow I shall teach you about Occam’s razor. Also: which “you’re” to use. (You used the wrong one.)

 So are you getting me a V

 A short lesson on Occam’s razor: No.

 I’m crying now

 Probably for the best, life will make you sad, so you need to get used to tears.


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February 26, 2013 · 8:17 am

“Right, based on what you’ve told me, you might like this book. There’s only one problem – I haven’t finished it, and I always try to make sure I’ve read something before I lend it to students.”


“Well, you see, some years ago I had a book on my desk that I was going to read on the bus home that afternoon. A student asked if she could borrow it and I said yes. A few days later, she came and saw me and said ‘That book was pretty extreme. I don’t think I was old enough to read it.’ So I said she’d better give it back, and she said ‘I can’t, I’ve given it to this other girl.’ So over the next few months I had students come up and tell me that they didn’t think they were old enough to read it but had done so regardless and passed it to their friends. After I eventually got it back, I told this to my flatmate at the time, and she read it before I did. I asked her what she thought of the book, and, at the age of 23, she said ‘I don’t think I was old enough to read that.’ So, as I say, I try to make sure I’ve read whatever I lend you.”

“Well… do you have that book you’re talking about?”

“You mean do I have the book that could have got me fired if anyone found out I lent it to teenagers? The book that was objectively scarring to a wide array of people?”


“What do you think? It’s in my cupboard over there, I’ll just get for you…”

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February 7, 2013 · 8:52 am

Bored now

Right, doing this has officially become a chore, so I’m out.

No no, hold your tears – you’ll make it sound rehearsed…

As a last act of vanity, a sentence or three about the books I’m currently spreading myself across:

Book The Sixty-Seventh

What Am I Doing Here by Bruce Chatwin, a collection of Chatwin’s essays and short pieces written at various times throughout his life. Readable, and he certainly got up to a bit in his lifetime, but so far it has left me cold.

Book The Sixty-Eighth

The Complete Short Stories of Saki, the definitive collection of HH Munro, an author the students put me onto years ago and who by rights should occupy the same place in the cultural landscape as PG Wodehouse if it wasn’t for the premature patriotism-related death he suffered.

Book The Sixty-Ninth

The David Icke Guide To The Global Conspiracy And How To Stop It. Icke is crazier than a shithouse rat, but this – basically the Rosetta Stone of conspiracy theories where he ties together every left-of-centre idea into one overarching plot to kill us all – is sort of like comfort reading for me. I can read chapter after chapter without getting bored. Although admittedly it does start to drag slightly when he starts using entire chapters to list members of the American military-industrial complex and the numerous secret societies they’ve belonged to…

Book The Seventieth

The Eerie Silence by Paul Davies. A look at the history of SETI with a digression into the theory of alien life. So far, a lot of fun.

Book The Seventy-First

I Am Not Esther, by Fleur Beale. Studying this one with the Year 9s again. I like the stuff I get to teach religious children with this text, but my thoughts on it are summed up entirely here.

Book The Seventy-Second

The Carbon Diaries by Saci Lloyd, a future history, in diary form, about a sudden global-warming-related weather shift causing the UK to cut its carbon emissions overnight by eighty percent. Readable; I might teach it if we get a set of them – I can get all preachy and hippy, and expand the woeful ignorance my students have about this subject (I’m reading this basically because the other week I had a conversation with some of my fifteen-year-olds where it transpired that they didn’t know what global warming was. At all.) and I’ll probably read the sequel that’s sitting around the library, but nothing to get too excited over.

Book The Seventy-Third

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins, the story of three disparate individuals who find each other after attempting suicide. I like this story better than Hopkins’ other stories I’ve read recently – it’s been almost twenty-years since I read Go Ask Alice, and while such stories can be fun, I’m sort of bored with sordid tales of teenage drug abuse. Teenagers cutting themselves or taking too many pills on the other hand never gets boring. I guess it’s because I just like the idea of teenagers getting hurt… That having been said, both Crank and Glass had more poetic tricks in their narratives which made them interesting reading experiences. Impulse is more straightforward in its narrative, which isn’t bad, but is somewhat of a letdown given the potential inherent in the subject matter for the sort of double meanings which with Hopkins laced her first two books.

Right, that’s me for the time being. Cheers to the three or four people who read this, because it’s always nice to pretend there’s a purpose to doing all of this nonsense.

End transmission.

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Book The Sixty-Sixth

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Two weeks ago, Clay’s first love, Hannah, committed suicide, leaving him with many questions. The answers come in an anonymously delivered package containing tapes recorded by Hannah, detailing the events leading up to her death, and placing the blame on thirteen people. Including Clay.

This isn’t a bad book, but Asher has tried a narrative experiment that hasn’t worked. Alternating quickly between Clay’s first-person narrative and Hannah’s narration of the tapes (in italics) isn’t on the face of it a bad idea, but Asher’s decision to only slowly reveal the depth of the two characters’ connection to each other falls down. At the beginning of the book – simply because it isn’t mentioned – we have no idea that they were more than casual acquaintances, and when new elements are revealed it isn’t a big shocking revelation, it feels more like Asher simply forgot to mention it before.

I can think of worse ways to kill a day or so, but I can also think of much better. Speaking of which, back to that massive David Icke tome that I’m plodding my way through…

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Books The Sixty-Fourth and Sixty-Fifth

Crank and Glass by Ellen Hopkins

Kristina is a good girl who never causes her mother or stepfather worry. Other than the minor trauma of her older sister de-closeting a few years earlier, the family has never had any bumps in their middle-of-the-road existence.

Then, on a rare visit to her biological father, Kristina meets a boy. He introduces her to a whole new world, of parties, physical intimacy and, most damningly, methamphetamines.

These two books are my favourite find recently, and I’m keeping an eye out for Hopkins’ other work. Her trick of telling the story though poetry is not, as I first assumed it would be, grating, rather, to quote the student I just gave to book to, it cuts all of the extraneous bullshit out and just leaves the interesting parts.

Well written in a unique way, and powerful without being preachy, these ones are keepers. (Of course, I do need to give them back to the school library…)

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Book The Sixty-Seventh

Emperors don’t die in bed by Fik Meijer

A recounting of the emperors of Rome from Augustus through to Romulus, focussing on their deaths.

This was great. Each emperor got a couple of pages, and exactly enough background information as is necessary to give context to their death. Well researched, pithy and entertaining.

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Book The Sixty-Sixth

Son of Man by Garth Ennis

Chas has just made a terrible mistake. To pay off some gambling debts, he’s agreed to drive a man to a place. Sadly, the man is a hitman, gunning for the brother of the London’s most vicious crime lord. The hit fails, the assassin is dead, and Chas doesn’t know where to turn. The he remembers that his best friend, John Constantine, is a magician. Sadly, Constantine has a history with this crime lord – a history that paralyses him with fear – and also, as he says, whenever you really, really need magic to work; it won’t.

This is, to my mind, the definitive Hellraiser story. At turns terrifying and funny, crisp dialogue, great characterisation, and as entertaining as all hell. It also helps that it stands alone far better than most of the other collections. You could read this with no idea of who the characters were and still make perfect sense of it.

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