Saturday, February 07, 2015

Story time from the past

Following on from my first post of 2015 (The One With The Promise, in Friends-speak), it struck me that someone who happens on that post might be interested in reading some of the short stories I wrote from the prompts given by my friend. Looking back at my short-story posts from the challenge (good lord, back in 2006! a full eight years back!), I noticed that I'd missed the first two challenges. But the rest of them, from 3 through 13, are there, in the months of November and December 2006.

So, here's the link to the first of them: Ammani's I Ask, You Write 3. I hope you'll follow up on the rest of them. Do let me know if the stories are as good as I imagine them to be... and if they aren't, let me down gently, won't you?

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Me meme

At least, I hope they're seven things you didn't know. The problem is that I forget what I've written about previously... I just hope that those who've read my blog also forget what they've read! :)
1. I love dogs and I love kids, but they have to belong to other people so that I can go home without them. It’s being responsible for them 24/7 that petrifies me. (Aside: I did have a dog, a beautiful Welsh Border Collie. I loved her very much and was devastated when she died of cancer at the ridiculous age of 4. Never again. 
2. As a teenager, my best friend and I, along with another girl (whose name I absolutely cannot remember now) formed a writers group. We called ourselves “Sulakshya” – a name formed from the first syllables of our own names. This compound word serendipitously even had a meaning (“Lucky”). Our aim was to collaborate on writing stories for children, get them published, become well-known authors and make a lot of money (no, we didn’t have our collective heads in the clouds – why do you ask?). Nothing came of Sulakshya, I can’t imagine why, but we did get to spend many pleasant hours brainstorming, sitting under a shady tree in a park or a college campus (i.e, anywhere that had shady trees not frequented by shady youths).
3. I am not at all competitive, but something about a writing prompt set by someone else (whether for a competition or not) gets my creative juices flowing – if not quite a waterfall, at least a trickle.
4. I add my name to “Awaaz” petitions regularly, but actually I don’t see how an online petition could help mitigate truly dire situations. For instance, collecting one million signatures protesting the horrifying actions of IS militants isn’t going to save even one person in their grip from dying a terrible death. Is it? Those one million signatures might bring the petition to the attention of politicians in the UK, maybe get it discussed in Parliament - but that still isn’t going to save the life of even one person kidnapped by the IS. Right?
5. I lurk on a lot of websites that I really like, but usually don’t leave a comment if I can’t think of anything more intelligent to say than “Thank you for sharing” (unless it was shared personally with me and only me) or if I’m one of fifty dozen people all saying “Great read!” or “Well written!”. No value addition, no point. I also don’t leave abusive comments – even if I’m sorely tempted!
6. For all the reading that I’ve done over the years, I’ve never joined a Book Club, nor ever felt the need to. Usually the most that I want to say to friends about a book I’ve liked is “Read it, it’s really good!” I hate the idea of dissecting the plot or the characters or the writing – most of all, I loathe having to explain (or listen to explanations) as to “why this is funny”. Maybe it’s to do with a traumatic episode in the 8th standard at school, where Mark Twain’s short story “My Watch” (which I had thoroughly enjoyed reading) was analysed to a lingering death by the completely humour-free English teacher.

7. I’ve never been to the Opera. It’s on my bucket list, but I refuse to go without mini-binoculars (opera glasses?) because those are essential to the experience, right? (“Wrong” does not count as an answer in this instance.)
PS: I've copied this off my Facebook, because while I promised to post more often, I didn't promise that the posts would be exclusive to this blog! hah! Sneaky, perhaps, but those who are unable to write as expansively and comprehensively as a volcano spews ash are forced to resort to such underhand methods. Sue me.  

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Addiction available, cheap

Codeine is a dangerously addictive drug that can and should only be taken under prescription. We know that. And yet it's sold over-the-counter, available to anybody who has about £4 on them, whether they require the drug or not. This OTC medicine may be a low enough dosage to not require a doctor's prescription, but there's a perfectly clear message on the packs, warning that codeine is addictive and the tablets should not be taken more than 3 days in a row. 

So, you'd think the tablets would be in packs of three so that nobody could abuse the medicine without having to go back to buy more, wouldn't you? No... the codeine tablets are available in multi-packs - 16 tablets, 28 tablets and so on. Why? 

And another thing - people who buy codeine tablets without a prescription should be asked to provide their NHS ID, whether they pay in cash or by card - so that their purchases can be monitored. I don't know if this is currently being done, but if it isn't, shouldn't it? Since an awful lot of personal medical and health information is already being held online, surely adding this will not be difficult. 

There are plenty of people who would bleat about giving the government more power to "spy" on people and take our society one step closer to becoming a "nanny state". I don't think this would matter, partly because I believe the government is spying on us anyway and we ARE living in a nanny state. At least monitoring this extra information might actually help prevent people from becoming inadvertent codeine addicts, or current addicts from covertly feeding their addiction. Maybe it would even save the NHS money in the long run.