Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Favourite posts from the 3rd quarter of 2012

The highlights from my summer 'on the road'....

Pick of the Archives:
Favourite Posts, July-September 2012

1)  Barbecue memories - 6th July 2012
The weekly haiku in the week of American Independence Day (for which I was, happily, in America this year) revives a recollection of campfire cooking during my summer holidays as a child.

2)  Books I could read again and again  -  7th July 2012
A selection of special favourites, most of them dating back to my childhood.

3)  The heart of a sniper  -  14th July 2012
A synopsis of a long short story I wrote years ago, in Canada - kicking off a new 'Discarded Story Ideas' series.

The happiest discovery of this year's American trip was this utterly gorgeous and superlatively talented young jazz musician - instant swoon.

5)  Dying by inches  -  23rd July 2012
A rather long post, in which an extraordinary set of travails I suffer in trying to get my computer to work reminds me of one of my most unpleasant videogaming experiences, way back in my student days.

6)  An Olympic curmudge  -  27th July 2012
No, I am not a fan of the bloody Olympics!

7)  "Helpfulness", Chinese university style  -  2nd August 2012
I receive a quite astoundingly obtuse - nonsensical - reply from one of the former employers I'd canvassed for possible help in applying for a new Chinese visa. Extremely annoying, but also hilarious.

8)  Rejecting the 'modern'  -  4th August 2012
An epic curmudge, in which I spurn, um, almost every major technological innovation of the last thirty years. Luddite? Moi?!

9)  Bon mot for the week  -  6th August 2012
One of my own, on writing - and superhero stories.

10)  A crazy plan  -  10th August 2012
I have dreams of walking home from China to the UK along the ancient 'Silk Road'. Alas, there are certain practical problems with this.

11)  My Fantasy Girlfriend: Gillian Duxbury  -  11th August 2012
Being back in the UK stirs nostalgic memories of one of the very first crushes of my childhood, a popular English glamour model of the 1970s. I am delighted to discover that she still looks rather stunning today.

12)  The cone of silence  -  13th August 2012
I discover that while in China I seem to have picked up the useful knack of not listening to people.

13)  And another thing: coffee shops!  -  14th August 2012
I remember that I HATE the ubiquity of coffee shops in the modern world even more than I hate worthless new technology.

14)  The Chinese worker in action  -  28th August 2012
Ah, back in Beijing! And it's just as crazy as ever!! (A collection of similar stories soon followed.)

15)  It's science, dude  -  7th September 2012
A really cool video of an astronaut on the International Space Station playing with a big globule of water in zero-gravity.

16)  Advice to would-be writers:
Part 1  -  8th September 2012
Part 2  -  12th September 2012
A final word  -  19th September 2012
Does exactly what it says on the label.

17)  You have got to be kidding me  -  19th September 2012
I make some surprising and disturbing discoveries about trends in baby naming in the United States.

18)  My Fantasy Girlfriend: Suzanne Vega  -  15th September 2012
Three of my favourite songs from the whipsmart and very lovely singer-songwriter: Blood Makes Noise, Tired Of Sleeping, and the (rather too sadly appropriate to my unrequitable crush) I'll Never Be Your Maggie May.

19)  What are days for?  -  16th September 2012
An online questionnaire prompts some deep thoughts - and gives me an excuse to post a bit of Philip Larkin.

20)  Now you see him, now you don't  -  17th September 2012
Some facetious commentary on the recent disappearance of China's leader-designate Xi Jinping - how could I resist?

21)  Some languages have a word for it - or do they?  -  22nd September 2012
During a meander around some of the intriguing foreign words/concepts discussed on the Internet, I am disappointed to find out that so many of them are hoaxes. (I did a couple of follow-up posts to this on Barstool Blues, here and here.)

22)  Goals and objectives  -  23rd September 2012
I obsess about my weight... and announce a plan to lose some... well, a lot.

23)  Life mirrors art  -  28th September 2012
I am struck by the coincidence that hit Danish TV drama Borgen, which began in 2010, centres on an improbably foxy female Prime Minister who leads a liberal coalition... and a year or so later we find that the Danish government is a liberal coalition led by an improbably foxy female Prime Minister. What is it about the Danes??

24)  More favourite film posters  -  29th September 2012
Seven great films, eight great posters. I added a supplement here on some of the striking promotional artwork for Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.

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