What a grand title for a blog that’s about getting old.  Oh, and by the way, I skipped a few Happy New Years, so let me just say I hope your 2014 and 2015 were amazing in their entirety as well as the smallest detail.  Happy 2016!  Hasn’t the new Star Wars renewed your faith in the franchise?  Now, death…..

You know how it is, you’re happily going about your business, seeing the absurd when everyone else only sees the mundane, aware that your cells are constantly doing their stuff and dividing away…….. and then you remember……. those blasted telomeres just keep getting shorter and shorter.  Just stay the same length damn you and we may be able to live forever (further research required to confirm).

This year I have a special birthday, it’s not the commencement of a new decade, but it’s the year I shall be the embodiment of the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.  You know what I mean.  And anyway, people celebrate the beginning of a new decade in the year they complete the previous one, but let’s not get me started on everyone celebrating the new millennium on the wrong year… again… (Again that I go on about it, not that I know people who have celebrated two millennia.)

It doesn’t matter if you’re 42 or early-mid-late 50s or even older (if that’s possible) the time for living is now.  Get out there, enjoy life, enjoy the universe, enjoy everything!

Sx


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Silly penguin, 2001 was the start of the new millennium!
 
 
In two weeks I am going to be standing up in front of a group of (mainly) adults of a good reading age and reading to them. The audience, I imagine, will be perfectly able to read on their own, but they will come to hear me read from Magenta Opium. Maybe they're hoping if the author reads it it will make more sense? As with so many things, it is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because, well, it's pretty cool. A book reading. Me reading Magenta Opium. Cool. A curse because, well, what to read?? (As in, which chapters, not whether I should abandon Magenta Opium completely and read a bit of Arthur C. Clarke, just for a laugh.)

I love Dexter and I went to a Jeff Lindsay reading where he did a major spoiler! He read some early chapters then jumped to a later chapter where the menace and intrigue he had started to build came crashing down with the revelation "it was my brother". Had I not attended the reading then the suspense he was maintaining in the all the chapters up to the reveal would have been sublime, but instead I read it all thinking, 'it's okay, Sharon, it's just his brother'. (Note: I'm not talking about book one, that would be a spoiler too far!)

There's a reason I wrote chapter 17 after chapters 1-16, it's because I want you to know what's been happening in the lives of Veronica Dempsey and family before they get to chapter 17. Choosing what to read is more difficult than writing the thing! 'Ooh, I could read [spoiler]... no, wait, I don't want them to know [spoiler] before they know [spoiler].'

For those of you that have read Magenta Opium already, I was thinking of starting with chapter 1 (a very good place to start), then perhaps chapter 8 (interlude) and finish on chapter 42. That ought to give a good indication of what Magenta Opium is all about.

If you would like to come and be spoiled, I will be reading from my novel at Reading Lasses in Wigtown on FRIDAY 12th JULY. There will be wine with the reading and you can stay on and eat in their fine establishment for the very reasonable price of £12.95 for two courses. The menu is wonderfully drug-themed and I will be providing some magenta opium for the masses!  Register your interest HERE.

See you there!
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Magenta Opium by Sharon Baillie, Friday 12th July, see you there, man!
 
 
At school the other day a pupil was talking about "that guy from Star Wars with the two-sided lightsabre" and I replied to his question and referred to "the guy" as Darth Maul. The pupils thought I was a geek for knowing the name. Frankly, I think that classes as general knowledge. Lots of non-geeks know that Darth Maul has the two-sided lightsaber, right? It's part of the Star Wars canon. It doesn't require specialist knowledge. It's not like I told them that Chewie's home planet is Kashyyyk (pronounced cash-eek) - which, of course, I could have. Nor did we discuss the Christmas Special. Thankfully.

But the thing is, I am a geek. Card carrying. Proud. Passionate. Which is why I will now, proudly and passionately tell the internet (and you) that yes, I bought the Before Watchmen comic books on Rorshach (cos he's my favourite) and yes, they came in plastic bags, and yes, in order to read them I wore gloves to stop the natural oils and dead skin in my fingers from contaminating them.

I went full geek. Proudly.
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What an awful angle to take a photo of your own arm
 
 
Seems it has been approximately five months since my last blog.  Happy 2013 everybody!  Now, tomatoes...

Tomatoes are a real problem.  You think of them as a vegetable, you eat them as a vegetable, but they're not vegetables!  They're fruit.  You are eating the ovary of a flowering plant, hence, fruit.  But they're just not sweet enough to be thought of as a fruit so we pretend to ourselves that they are vegetables because it seems a bit less mad than serving random fried fruit with breakfast bacon and sausages.  Labels, eh?  Only good for so long, then we just ignore them.  And let's not even start on mushrooms, okay?  Just, no.

The ancient Chinese were great at labelling.  The following list is claimed to have been found in a Chinese encyclopaedia from way back when.  Ladies and gentle men, I give you animals as the nation that invented fireworks and Chinese food saw them:
        Those that belonged to the Emperor (fair enough, the Emperor was very important)
        Embalmed ones (tackling the issue of life and death, okay, allowed)
        Those that are trained (hm, bit of a stretch, that, for a classification)
        Suckling pigs (and when they stop suckling?  Starting to lose faith here...)
        Mermaids (eh, what now?)
        Fabulous ones (someone's taking the piss)
        Stray dogs (bit of a time issue, what were they pre-straying?)
        Those that are included in this classification (classic catch all classification!)
        Those that tremble as if they were mad (but what if they're just cold not mad??)
        Innumerable ones (everything except sheep?)
        Those drawn with a very fine camel hair brush (he got bored around about now)
        Others (in case the first catch all didn't quite catch all)
        Those that have just broken the flower vase (nope, not having this at all!)
        Thost that, at a distance, resemble flies (strong ending to a mad list)

I would like to propose a new classification: Pokemon.  You've probably seen the lovely picture (below) of the sea slug that does the internet rounds - it is clearly of the genus Pokemon.  New rule: if it looks like a Pokemon (self evident) and behaves like a Pokemon (check out how it does battle against the Portuguese Man o' War when the Man o' War tries its sting attack and the sea slug is all "it doesn't affect Pokemon Sea Slug") then it's probably a Pokemon.  But under the ancience Chinese classification it's got to be a Fabulous One!

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I shall absorb your venom and multiply it, mwahahaha
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GO HOME CLASSIFIER, YOU ARE DRUNK!
 
 
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Magenta Opium, my debut novel (in case you've somehow managed upon my blog without perusing the rest of the website) is now available for eBook download!  Which is pretty great news for a wet November night!

I was in the supermarket when I got the email from the publishers saying it was live.  When I imagined what I would be doing when I got an email from my publishers telling me my novel was live, I never thought I would be buying butter at the time.  But we'd run out, you see.  Magenta Opium, you'll be pleased to hear, is more exciting than that little story about buying butter.  

It's available here:
Amazon.com

And here:
Barnes & Noble

Whatever takes your fancy!

Mood: fanciful (and retro)

 
 
I have changed it.  Apparently I listen to what the people say and respond.  Who could have predicted that?
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Sharon: The Blue Shirt Years (Well, Day)
 
 
These days I work from home. Contrary to what Boris Johnson would have people think, that doesn’t mean I spend all day walking to the fridge to get some more cheese. If I wanted cheese I’d probably bring the whole lot and put it on my desk to save the trips. Of course, I could do that if I went to work too since I’m not an imbecile. I haven’t eaten any cheese since I started working from home (circa 2 weeks ago). Neither have I watched a single episode of Jeremy Kyle. I have eaten a whole jar of pickled onions since Sunday, but if that’s wrong I don’t want to live in a world that’s “right”.

So I’m not pigging out or watching trash tv, but there must be some weakness in my psyche that I succumb to when working from home (other than the pickled onion fiasco). After all, I’m not a superhuman. My brain runs with electrical impulses like a computer, but it’s soft and mushy like any other real living being. What’s my Achilles’ heel? I can tell you (since I know you won’t tell anyone) that my motivation to stay clean is pretty much gone. I mean, why bother with ablutions? It takes up precious working time! Now that I don’t commute I can work an extra 2 hours a day. Without showering or dressing properly I gain an extra 35 minutes (what? I like a long shower!) I would say that not washing is win/win, but…

I showered this evening for 2 reasons: first, I couldn’t honestly remember the last time I had washed. And (b) I could smell myself. For real.

A quote just for Petra: There’s a tramp in the house. Oh, the tramp is me.

Since this is my first political post (it references the Mayor of London) I am putting up a politically charged photo. Rebel.

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That means I now have a blog archive from another month!  I'm thinking of turning pro.  All I need now is to increase my actual blogging by around 3000% and find interesting stuff to say instead of this sort of drivel...

I decided, whilst in the shower the other morning, to be deeply offended by the lyric in the song from South Pacific: "There ain't nothing you can tame that is anything like a dame."  (For completeness, the song is There Is Nothing Like A Dame, and yes, I often sing late-1950's show tunes in the shower.)  I marched downstairs doing my very best Germaine Greer face at the indignation I was feeling from being compared to "something you can tame."

'So, I'm like a wild animal?' I asked David (in my non indoor voice).  David cleverly sensed a trap and didn't answer.  'How dare they!' Continued I, unperturbed, 'How dare they imply that a woman is something to be housebroken, to be leashed until "tame"!  I know it was the late-1950's, but how very dare they!'  (For full disclosure, I thought it was the 1960's, but I imdb'd it.)

I looked up the song online and it turns out the lyric is actually, "There is nothing you can name that is anything like a dame".  Subtle difference.  Sounds the same.  But fair play to them, they're factually correct, no problems here then.  I decided to withdraw my "decision to be offended", fortunately before releasing my anti-misogynistic rant on the interworld web via my blog.

I turned on my iPod and listened to some Whitesnake instead.  Slide It In album, I believe.
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There is nothing you can NAME that is anything like a dame. Now digitally remastered because there weren't enough versions of South Pacific already in the world and someone thought there should be more, just a tiny bit clearer.
 
 
It's been an odd sort of day. I used oven cleaner to clean my shower curtain - worked fairly well, I give it a B+. I sent the boy to the video shop to get The Woman In Black, a film which can be classified as DRAMA/HORROR/THRILLER. He brought back Kung Fu Panda 2, a CARTOON ACTION COMEDY. Still, I give it a B+ on account of it making me laugh, probably more than The Woman In Black would have. And I ate the insides of marshmallows out a jar! Who knew you could buy a jar of the inside of marshmallows? My top tip if you are ever treated to the insides of marshmallows from a jar is to spread it on chocloate fingers. The insides of marshmallows - in a jar! (It's called, quite unappealingly, Fluff.)

But enough chat - the point of this blog is to let you know that Grimm Jr is now ready to get to know you. Call round to see him here: http://www.sharonbaillie.com/grimm.html You don't need to feel obliged to take a cake or flowers, just your clicking finger will do.

Since I love each and every one of you, please enjoy this picture of Marshmallow Fluff.


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Our sleepy little village came to life recently when the Olympic Torch passed through as part of its nationwide tour. The town was delighted; we got official Olympic bunting put up and everything. The local businesses got into the carnival spirit, decorating their shop windows with welcoming signs for the Torch and runners and basically making the whole area Olympic themed. I’m not too sure what happened with the shop front pictured below though. They certainly had the elements right, but the execution is somewhat imaginative (that’s me being nice). Maybe they thought the logo was trademarked and they’d get into bother if they copied it directly? Bless them.

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The Olympic Rings. Local style. Boom. How do you like them rings, eh?