My love affair with alcohol

I’m off to the Woking beer festival today, for the 3rd year running. I love real ale. It took me a few years to get into it – I admit I was a lager swilling heathen through my university years but I wouldn’t touch that stuff now. Now in the beer stakes I get the nicest and/or most interesting beer possible. Pale Ale’s or Golds for preference, but I’ve also had great successes with ruby bitters. I have yet to understand the appeal of porters and stouts, but then I don’t do any manual labour, which is why they were invented.

At the beer festival Terry will seek out the ciders and perries. We usually have something of the Weston’s Vintage ilk in stock at home. Magners/Bulmers/Gaymers is a bit too mainstream and Babycham is just a joke!

Wine was my introduction to alcohol. From a young age my parents would give me half a small glass of wine on special occasions which I would top up with water. The logic being of course that by introducing me to alcohol in a controlled environment I wouldn’t go utterly off the rails later – an approach which for the most part worked very well indeed.

I enjoy learning about wine, and I like the fact that my tastes have changed over time. I went from preferring fruity floral whites, to deep earthy reds. There was a time when my untutored nose and palate told me that a Shiraz smelt and tasted like Jack Daniels. These days I smile indulgently when my husband claims that all red wine tastes like feet. Fortunately we are in perfect accord when it comes to desert wine. The end of a frustrating encounter with the Post Office Credit Card was gleefully put behind us with the help of a bottle of Viennese Eiswein. But sparkling wine remains the go-to drink of celebration. Even though I have bottles of Cava at home a quarter of the price of some bottles of ‘regular’ wine, nothing denotes an occasion like the popping of a cork.

Sherry for me will always be the taste of the 80s, drank from tiny stemmed glasses accompanied by dry roasted peanuts. I found fresh use for it sloshing a glass over frying coins of chorizo resulting in a brief spurt of flame and leaving a sweet glaze. Similarly vermouth and marsala get used mostly for cooking, but I have no objection to a glass of chef’s prerogative of either of those. Port brings out the old man in me. One glass and I will not stop going on about the need to teach logic in schools. Sake has a special place in my heart having spent a glorious evening at a Siamese restaurant in Norwich with Terry celebrating his achieving a 2:1 in Computer Science. I think it’s no understatement to say that with that result the trajectory of both our lives changed. The world was in front of us, with all its new experiences. Amongst those new experiences was the lesson that a flask of warm sake each was way too much! But I rarely have sushi at home without it.

Then there’s the spirit world. I hated gin as a young adult thanks to an unpleasant experience at my high school prom with my date who was fortifying his courage with a small bottle of Gordons in his inside breast pocket. It took my visit to the Bombay Sapphire Experience at Vineopolis many years ago (which has sadly since changed into something else) to appreciate the delicate botanical flavours within that beautiful square bottle.

Vodka was the drink we were all warned against as I grew up, with its propensity to fade into oblivion against a backdrop of juices and sodas. Were a person so inclined you could put a fair quantity away without tasting the alcohol at all until you realised you’d fallen over.

Until 3 years ago I’d always got along ok with rum. It wasn’t my favourite tipple but I was happy enough to drink it if it was offered. Unsurprisingly it was my holiday to the Caribbean where I started to really appreciate the subtleties of flavour, the differences between light, dark, golden, spiced and so forth. I always thought of the humble Cuba Libre as, well, humble, but now a wedge of lime and a shot of Morgan’s Spiced in a glass of coke transports me back to the Antiguan beach where I watched the sun set over the ocean.

I’ve had mixed experiences with Whisky. I felt that it was a tremendous commendation of my maturity when my parents bought me back a tiny little bottle of single malt Scotch from holiday when I was about 16 and I never had the heart to tell them it tasted horrible. A decade later Terry and I celebrated our 1st year of marriage with a trip to Dublin, and the Jameson’s Old Distillery taught me a new appreciation for the drink.

Cognac remains a closed book to me (it’s one of the few drinks I feel I’m not old enough for) although the Pear Cognac Xante we had a couple of years back was unutterably delicious. The bottle of basic brandy in the cupboard is used exclusively for fortifying deserts.

Tequila and I have a chequered history, but I recently began mixing margaritas with lemonade which went beautifully with home made veggie tacos.

Bringing me to cocktails – which I started concocting at a tender age and never stopped. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but the results have never put me off. We have an extensive stock of liqueurs:
Our massive booze collection

Nonetheless I am always confident of strolling into a cocktail bar and finding something I wouldn’t make at home. Nights out at university were plotted around the city’s many cocktail houses: first The Bell, then Owen’s, then Chandler’s (later Imagine) for then on to Old Orleans, detouring to Bedford’s if we were feeling brave enough. It might sound either tragic or clichéd to say that my drinking experiences were some of my fondest memories of uni, but I truly learned a lot about the wonderful aesthetics of alcohol there. Throughout my life I’ve known people who couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t drink, and I’ve always felt intensively grateful that I’m not amongst them. I was told once by my grandmother that she didn’t drink because she had seen the terrible things people could do under the influence of alcohol. Even as a child I caught the term ‘could’ with all that implied. Once I was old enough to start appreciating everything booze could offer I resolved to do everything in my power to ensure I never had to stop drinking because I abused it.

Predicting the election

The day Barack Obama won the US election I wrote about how I struggle to deal with the stress of the unknown and it would have been great to have a big old spoiler in front of the whole thing telling me who won, such as appeared at the start of Season 7 of the West Wing.

Apparently such a thing did actually exist, in the forecasting of one Nate Silver, a US statistician who correctly predicted the outcome of the election with substantial accuracy. The first I heard of this chap was reading Twitter on Wednesday morning and seeing people congratulating him. I read a little more and gathered that he had taken a fair amount of flak from Republicans who didn’t like what he was saying. A couple of weeks before the election a disgruntled right winger by the name of Dean Chambers wrote a piece about how Silver was going to be wrong, and making some rather homophobic comments into the bargain.

Yesterday Chambers apologised for the nature of these comments. Well, he apologised, but spent half of this follow up piece quoting some other bloke who had made uncomplimentary comments about him. Not that it matters. He is still apologising because that’s the kind of decent upstanding guy he is. Even if the other side started it. Which he isn’t saying they did. But he’s still apologising, so there!

(As apologies go this reminds me rather of this editorial I read a couple of months back about the startling inept efforts of Andrew Mitchell to regain public support after pleb-gate.)

However the thing that really interested me was Chambers has managed to make this all about his slur on Silver’s appearance. It therefore doesn’t engage with the slurs he made on Silver’s integrity, intelligence or capability. “He [Silver] gives Obama a 73.4 percent chance of winning Ohio, which is downright absurd…” Except that it wasn’t absurd in the slightest. Obama did win Ohio, admittedly with a smaller percentage than Silver had predicted, but he was still way closer to the mark than Chambers.

Elsewhere it was a bad night for Karl Rove who seems to have taken a leaf out of Cornelius Fudge’s book of how to handle stuff you don’t want to believe is true. Courtesy of Jon Stewart I got to see Fox anchor Megyn Kelly asking Rove “Is this just math that you do as Republican to make yourself feel better or is this real?” Says it all really.

How my Oyster card helped me lose weight

I wrote a while back about the weight loss project I’ve had going for the past 2-3 years. A couple of people have asked me if I have followed a particular food or exercise plan. I never even bothered trying something like Atkins or joining Weight Watchers. When I started I knew that the biggest challenge I would face was sticking to whatever I decided to do. So if I went on a restrictive diet I knew that the chances were that I wouldn’t stick to it, and being a miser I hated the idea of spending money on something I was sure I could do on my own.

But I did spend some time thinking about the best approach. I concluded that I needed to make small changes which didn’t disturb the rest of my life too much. I needed to figure out what would slot nicely into my everyday routine. The easiest thing to start with was my commute to work. Soon after I started my job I fell into the habit of catching the bus to and from Waterloo. But as I was using an Oyster card each time I travelled it cost me money.

This gave me a big financial incentive to start walking. The 3 mile round trip actually provides a decent amount of exercise, and every time I walk in I’m saving myself £1.35. Not a vast amount granted, but across a month that’s well over £50, or £600 a year. If I had a pre paid travel card I’d feel like if I didn’t use it I wasn’t getting my money’s worth, which would conflict with the goal of exercising more. So by ensuring that my twin goals of losing weight and saving money are not working against each other I’m much more likely to achieve them both.

The creature from the Black Lagoon as a progressive milestone in cinematic history

As we approached Halloween night Terry was joyfully scouring the interwibbles for 3D films we could watch on our brand spanking new 3D telly. Some have worked really well, others less so. I hadn’t realised how many ‘old’ movies had actually been shot in 3D for cinematic release back in one of the previous eons where 3D was the exciting new thing. So we settled down to watch this icon of black and white horror.

It’s from 1954 and I’d already seen the picture of Julie Adams sprawled over a rock in her bathing suit, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect in terms of gender roles. I am so happy that my pre-conceptions were at least partly wrong. The character of Kay Lawrence is strikingly independent, educated and pragmatic. She’s in a relationship with one of the other characters, but from the banter between them you don’t get the impression that she’s under his thumb. She’s works at a research lab studying marine biology, which is awesome. I know I’m a few weeks’ late for Ada Lovelace day, but I’d venture she’s a pretty good candidate for a female science role model. What’s equally impressive is that she actually understands the importance of funding. In fiction (and for that matter in reality) scientists are often starry eyed idealists who think that situating their work within the confines of reality, for which read curtailing their budget, is an attack on their integrity and commitment to their work. In the film Kay takes the role of peacemaker between the ambitious entrepreneur Mark Williams who wants results he can show off to his backers, and the David Reed who just wants to do cool science-y things and discover stuff.

So here was my next surprise. The scientists are the goodies. I was expecting a Frankenstein style sermon on the dangers and limits of science, but instead I took away a fairly progressive morality tale about the importance of ecology. The scientists are perfectly happy to leave the creature be, and if memory serves it’s Kay herself who suggests that they would learn more by allowing the creature to remain in its natural habitat. But the money-grabbing Mark Williams sees an opportunity to score a trophy, and unsurprisingly the creature doesn’t take too kindly to getting harpooned.

There are still plenty of things which mark this as a 50s horror. There’s the screaming, but actually far less than I expected. I think a couple of them could be classed more as a shriek of surprise, which when confronted with what is basically a Silurian is fair enough. Then there’s the lingering shots of Julia Adams swimming around just a few feet from the creature gazing at her lithe form from beneath her. (Actually, scratch the lithe bit. Adams is sporting the pointiest breasts outside a Madonna video and there’s no way those are conducive to aqua-dynamics.) But there’s plenty of eye-candy for those who prefer their screen idols to come with a Y Chromosome, and for my money the shots of Richard Carlson and Richard Denning cavorting in their swimwear is no less gratuitous than the sequences of Kay splashing about, particularly when they come to a brief bout of fisticuffs!

Yes, ultimately Kay gets captured and has to be rescued by the men folk, so loses feminist marks there, but the character of Kay is not the one-note damsel in distress I had anticipated from any film of that era.

How good is the West Wing at predicting the future?

I loved the West Wing. It’s one of the few shows I got into a few seasons in (around about season 4 I think) and liked so much I went back and watched it all from the beginning as I waited for the next season to start. I loved the characters, I loved the writing (I don’t care if Sorkin was off his tits on cocaine – no one does diatribe quite like him) and I loved the political fairyland he created. I wanted to live in a world where Jed Bartlett was president and he beat his political opposition off with a stick because he was cleverer, wiser, more engaged and had more integrity. “In the future, if you’re wondering, “Crime. Boy I don’t know.” is when I decided to kick your ass.” Come ON people!

But one of the things that always confused me was the prequel to series 7, where they basically tell you who wins the election at the season climax. They may have had a good reason to do this, but I never got around to looking it up on the internet to see if there was some rational. Contrary to appearances I don’t spend all my time watching TV shows and then thinking about them.

Anyway, despite my confusion as to the reasoning behind it, I found the massive spoiler at the start actually quite reassuring. It turns out I don’t handle suspense that well. As the season progressed the election stuff gets pretty fraught, and by the end it’s basically a really close run thing. Knowing the eventual outcome took a lot of the stress out of watching Santos and Vinnick fight for political immortality.

Sadly real life is spoiler-free unless we find some cool way of mucking about with the space-time continuum. And so I don’t know who is going to win the US Presidential Election in just a few hours’ time. Tantilisingly, as the show was coming to its end bits started coming true. I’m sure other people have covered this in tremendous detail, so here are just a few of my highlights. The character of Congressman Matthew Santos was based in part on the political career of one Barak Obama. So when Barak Obama actually became president 4 years ago the climax of Season 7 seemed like it had been a fabulous harbinger. Shortly after taking office Obama appointed his great political rival Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. True, in the TV series Santos appoints the republican candidate, but that kind of cross party politics really does seem terribly far-fetched in reality and John McCain is no Arnie Vinnick.

Jed Bartlett himself wins his second term with a margin which is tolerable, if not comfortable (think sleeping on a lilo rather than a four poster bed.) Clearly that’s not going to happen this time. I suppose I shoud be grateful that at least the GOP won’t win by a landslide, and perhaps if Romney wins it will be by such a narrow margin he’ll wish he lost. After all, if the decline and fall of Nick Clegg is anything to go by, it’s much easier to garner popularity if you’re not actually in charge of anything. Being the opposition and getting to snark at everything the ruling party does seems like a doddle compared to shouldering the responsibility of actually running a country.

Wasabi Ice Cream

We were very excited to get some fresh wasabi a few weeks ago. But after using it in a variety of savoury dishes we still had a fair quantity left, and really didn’t want to let it go to waste. And so we made wasabi ice cream!

I won’t say it was the greatest success we have ever had on our long history of making our own ice cream, but it worked surprisingly well.

I’ve been great at following recipes, so I made the custard up as I went along. The basic ingredients were as follows:

4 egg yolks
Enough caster sugar so that once it was beaten with the above egg yolks it looked like it did in a random picture I found on the internet.
Full fat milk bought to just under boiling point then poured onto the above mixture.
Double cream lightly whipped then added so that the whole mixture looked like it would fill my ice cream maker.

After that we just added the wasabi. As we grated the wasabi root it fell naturally into clumps which we figured would disperse as the mixture churned, but this didn’t quite work as hoped. If I was doing it again I’d attempt to use more wasabi, and would try to stir it through more evenly before the churning /freezing process started.

Nonetheless the result was awesome. I had a scoop over a plate of smoked salmon and at the risk of sounding vainglorious it really was one of the most interesting and nicest things I had ever had. I could imagine it appearing on the menu at the Fat Duck. So Hetson – if you’re reading this – give me a call!

Being pro-choice

The abortion debate seem to have two sides. You’re either pro choice or pro life. If asked which I am of those two options tI would describe myself as vehemently pro-choice. But given the opportunity to expand that answer I think I would more properly describe myself as anti-life. By that I mean I don’t accept that all life is sacred (obviously as I am a godless heathen and I don’t think anything is sacred) and I don’t accept being alive is automatically an unconditional good. I believe that quick and where possible painless euthanasia should be available for judicious use where circumstances would otherwise dictate someone being condemned to a continued existence of pain, misery and humiliation. And by the same token I believe the abortion of an foetus should be an option where the alternative is bringing a human being into a world without the capacity to look after it.

One of the problems I have with the pro-life movement is that unborn babies are a moral crusade inutero, but once born they becomes statistics. If we lived in a world whereby any child was guaranteed a safe happy upbringing even if their own parents were somehow unable to provide that for them, then perhaps I would have more sympathy for someone who genuinely believes all life is sacred. But that isn’t the case.

In the big abortion debate, pregnancies as a result of rape or incest are frequently accepted as grounds where abortion is ‘ok’. But thanks to comments from the likes of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock these cases are under renewed debate. In an ENTIRELY HYPOTHETICAL situation I wonder how these men would feel in the event that their semen was forcibly extracted and used to fertilize a viable ovum. Would they be prepared to take responsibility for the ensuing child, or feel comfortable placing it in the care system? Or might they feel that as parenthood was forced upon them against their wishes, it would be better that the pregnancy didn’t continue.

For the record I think that some elements of the care system are great, and there are some amazing foster parents and adoptive parents who do a fantastic job. But I also think that it is cruel and irresponsible to portray as immoral women who choose to abort rather than carry to term a baby they feel they can’t look after, whether or not that has anything to do with the circumstances of the conception.

Would anyone want to be called a bigot?

This BBC story that popped up yesterday is truly serendipitous as I had planned on writing a post about bigotry anyway (honest!)

Gay Rights group Stonewall have named Cardinal Keith O’Brien as “Bigot of the Year” following his comments on gay marriage earlier this year.

I genuinely find it baffling that someone can with an absolutely straight face demand their rights are being infringed because they are being prevented from denying other people their rights, (or as is more accurate in this case, not even be prevented from denying other people their rights, but just being told that to do so makes them a horrible person.) But that is an issue for another post. For the time being I want to dwell on what it means to accuse someone of being a bigot.

To my way of thinking, calling someone a bigot is a pretty damning insult. The word connotes intolerance, stupidity, lack of education, fear of difference, defensiveness of one’s own lifestyle and generally failing the ‘do as you would be done by’ maxim which is the cornerstone of many if not all moral systems. Unsurprisingly the first free online dictionary I found lists lots of other bad adjectives alongside: chauvinist, homophobe, racist, zealot etc.

But words can be funny things. One person’s insult can be another’s compliment. Their meanings can change over time, and can have different connotations in different places. When I was planning this post – before the Cardinal’s objection became a news story – I had been thinking of Jimmy Smitts’ fabulous diatribe in The Debate, the episode of the West Wing from Season 7 broadcast live to a studio audience where he ‘reclaims’ the term liberal from a sneering Arnold Vinnick.

Clearly the Cardinal feels that to be called a bigot is a Bad Thing and wants no part in that. But could someone logically take the ‘insult’ on the chin and stand their ground? For instance Nick Griffin is clearly proud of his racist and homophobic policies, so might he wear the term Bigot as a Badge of Honour? Taking an example from a very different context Hermione Granger takes back the term “Mudblood” at the end of the Harry Potter series. Sick of hearing this derogatory term to describe her Muggleborn status she declares herself Mudblood and Proud. (As a side note I found this a very interesting reflection of the line Dumbledore has in the books, but Hermione gets given in the films, that fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.) Actually the example is not entirely facile, given the fascinating work done tracing how genetic theory maps onto the Wizarding world.

So I would argue that the term bigot could easily be co-opted by the extreme right as a rallying point for their ilk, and that can make it that much harder to have a meaningful dialogue. And from that I actually take slight comfort in the Cardinal’s reaction. Because if he had responded by saying “Yes, I am bigoted and proud of it!” that would indicate things were much, much worse.

Testing psychics

Someone has managed to get a couple of self proclaimed psychics to agree to a scientific test of their alleged powers. Unsurprisingly at the end the two psychics were deemed to have failed the test. The BBC has the story here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20145664

In keeping with the BBC policy of ‘balance’ they have printed comments made by one of the tested psychics who claims that the test was “designed to confirm the researchers’ pre-conceptions – rather than examine the nature of her psychic ability.” Furthermore she opines that “Scientists are very closed-minded” which got a big laugh in my office (I work in a university science department.)

The Guardian has the same story with a more pro-rational slant and a bit more background. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/oct/31/halloween-challenge-psychics-scientific-trial

According to Chris French, one of the test supervisors, the psychics were asked to confirm they were comfortable with the test, and asked to rank their confidence in each reading as they gave it. This indicates to me that a psychic who felt this was not a fair test would be wise to point this out when invited to; as opposed to taking the test, failing, and then making the claim that it wasn’t an appropriate test in the first place.

The BBC reports: “But one of the mediums, Patricia Putt, rejected the suggestion that this showed any absence of psychic powers – saying that she needed to work face-to-face with people or to hear their voice, so that a connection could be established.”

Perhaps Ms Putt fails to grasp the significance of the fact that ‘establishing a connection’ might not be due to psychic abilities but instead consist of making statistically safe guesses based on age, ethnicity, sex, body language and other bits of information that could be gleaned from looking at someone’s appearance.

If the point of the test is to isolate the ‘psychic ability’ from the capacity to do everything I’ve just mentioned (which is quite skill to do well – but surely couldn’t be classified as a paranormal ability) then you need to remove the possibility of some other factor causing the tester to get a positive result.

Except that if psychic ability *was* a real sense then hypothetically couldn’t it be subject to restrictions in the same way that our other senses are? I can smell stuff with my nose, but only if it is sufficiently close enough. If someone doubted my sense of smell they could test this by asking me to identify an orange by removing my ability to see it or touch it. But if they did this by placing it in a sealed box which also meant I couldn’t smell it, then I would appear to fail said test but would complain that my sense of smell was being inhibited by the confines of the experiment, so it couldn’t be deemed a fair test.

Ok that’s a pretty bad analogy. (But as this is NaBloPoMo I’m not letting myself dwell on that for days to come up with something better.) Nonetheless it got me thinking: why on earth did they agree that it was a fair test in the first place? For that matter why did they agree to do it all?

In the absence of any actual evidence that psychic powers exist, and knowing that where they are perceived to exist there is usually a much better explanation (which doesn’t turn everything we think we know about the universe on its head) I am confident in stating the following: Psychic Powers Don’t Exist.

If we are prepared to accept this as fact, then anyone who claims to have psychic powers is either a charlatan or suffering from an acute delusion. Anyone who knows full well that they are making it all up isn’t going to submit to any kind of genuine test that would expose them. (Setting aside for a moment the notion that they might think they can somehow rig the test to ‘prove’ what they say is true.) So if a ‘psychic’ is in that category then I feel an emotional response of disgust that they prey on vulnerable people for their own ends, much as I feel about banks mis-selling PPI’s. However, much as I may abhor what they do, I will accept that they are in possession of their critical faculties, if not their moral ones.

But if someone is in the latter category, then all bets are off. Ms Putt’s behaviour is not only irrational, it’s internally inconsistent. In answer to my earlier rhetorical question, I don’t suppose she has grasped the flaw in wanting a test which allows her to see and/or hear the sitter. And from her comment about scientists being closed minded, being rational doesn’t appear to be at the top of her agenda.

All of which leaves me feeling rather sorry for her. And slightly uncomfortable about the notion of the test in the first place. Perhaps the testers were hoping to help her get over her delusion by showing her scientifically that her claim was false. But if someone has already rejected the validity of science and rationality then that’s likely to be a lost cause. Perhaps they had reasons for supposing her to be of the Charlatan type and feel that by exposing her she would justifiably get her come-uppance. Perhaps they accept she is mentally ill but wanted to laugh at her: a horrible prospect but history is full of scientists who may have been rational but were nonetheless utter bastards (see above re the difference between critical and rational faculties.) Or perhaps they weren’t thinking of her in terms of being a person at all, but simply an example of a dangerous, exploitative but virulent form of hokum which needs debunking in the public consciousness.

Although the last one sounds callous, I don’t necessarily disagree with the thinking behind it. I’m aware I might be starting to sound like an apologist for unscientific nonsense but I really do think it’s important to expose bullshit for what it is. I’m just aware that this approach is unlikely change the mind of anyone who doesn’t think science is important to start with.

Why I’m doing NaBloPoMo

I started blogging earlier this year, and had managed to produce maybe 3 or 4 posts which were reasonably well considered, edited and proof read. By that I don’t mean the result was that they were well thought out, written or devoid of mistakes, but I did spend plenty of time on them. I’d have an idea, hone it over a few days, write a draft or two, get a second opinion and then post when I felt it was ready to share with the world. It was a fairly leisurely process and it was nice to think that whatever the outcome at least I could say hand on heart that it wasn’t done impetuously.

But that attitude doesn’t lend itself to great productivity. Weeks and weeks could go by, and I would write nothing despite the constant stream of current affairs upon which a misanthrope might be inclined to muse. I didn’t want to write unless I felt a) that I had something to say, and b) that I had the time and energy to at least try to say it well. By summer my reluctance to pin my thoughts down on digital paper started to feel less like prudent forbearance and more like a neurosis. It was at this time that I trotted off to BarCamp Berkshire, and after a couple of tantrums (yes really) agreed that I would abide by the ‘rules’ of BarCamp and I would lead a session. I decided to speak about my difficulty blogging.

My session went really well, and everyone was really supportive. The most concrete bit of advice I received was that the best way to gain confidence is to practice. Not everything has to be perfect, not everything has to be prescient, and most crucially for me, not everything has to be profound. To get over my fear of blogging I needed to get more comfortable with writing in general and that meant putting my more mundane thoughts out there as well as the grandiose ones.

So I’m a few months down the line, I’ve written a few more posts and I’m building confidence, but I’m still hardly prolific. And so I thought I’d give NaBloPoMo a shot. It’s a slightly scary prospect, but with 30 posts due in 30 days, I know I won’t be able to procrastinate, dither, and generally over-think which are my major problems when it comes to writing. What I produce maybe nonsense, which is scary in itself, but the structure of NaBloPoMo means I won’t be able to use that as an excuse anymore. Unless I crash and burn. In which case I might write up a post about failing sometime in 2013.