Wednesday, November 21

Data Girl... saviour of data rooms everywhere

When I think of Jon Pickup I generally feel pretty sick.

As my old Classics classmate, I was sickened to my stomach by his superior vocabulary skills and plethora of natural talents. He is one of those annoying guys who seem to be able to do everything. He can draw, he can write, he can play and compose music, he is very intelligent and probably has read more books than me. To top it all off, during lessons, he had the audacity to, correctly, challenge my (mis)use of vocabulary.

Like I say, he makes me sick.

So…… the reason why I am here, talking about Jon, is that this guy holds the key to me achieving one of my '101 things to do before I die' (for the uninitiated - see

He could be that hero.

Back in the old days of Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School to where I once went, Jon was inspired by his sixth form Latin and Classics class chums, to create comic strips to chart the shenanigans of the classroom. One was based upon Star Trek and the other, James Bond (aptly titled James Blond after Max Wilde, the 'Sun-in' blonde school-boy who was to play the title role).

Jon, in his omniscience, mainly used me as his villain in these creations from what I recall. Apparently I had the requisite authoritarian nature to fill the roles. As the Blond villain my mandate was to rule the world with a social reform that consisted of banning all burping, spitting and farting, insisting upon all woman wearing corsets and dresses and enforcing the rule that men must open doors for women and pull out their chairs. (Fair enough I think.) In his 'The Agamemnon' parody, I took the role of Clytemnestra. In Jon's estimation, audience sympathy for Agamemnon was assured given that the hero of the Trojan war was forced to return to a loud-mouthed, dictatorial and nagging wife who felt she could rule Argos better than he. (She probably could.)

Anyway, despite taking on the role as Blond villainess in the comic strip, I was highly disappointed never to be caricatured by Jon. All you ever saw of my evil persona was the back of my head. (But what a pretty head it was)

Over ten years on, now has come the opportunity for Jon to revisit my role in the comic world by helping to create my comic-book alter ego. I would like him to draw me AS A SUPER HEROINE.

The initial inspiration for my super heroine alter ego is based upon a pseudonym I gave myself as work based upon the unseemly amount of disclosure and data room creation I do.

Need a data room creating faster than lightning?
Need your documents organising, identifying, titling and redacting with the speed of a bullet?
Want some more info on that pesky asbestos issue?
Fear not o'Partner…call Barbosa aka. DATA GIRL.

Yes, that's me. Data Girl. Only problem is, and this is a self-deception I have previously identified….. I am no longer a girl. I am… 'a woman'.

'Data Woman'. There was Superwoman and Wonder Woman so why not Data Woman?

Thing is, it just doesn't sit right. I don't like it. It's not snappy like 'Data Girl'. I thought about simply 'Data' in the kind of X-Men tradition of naming superheroes. Give them a single name - make them more approachable - the People's Superheroes. I like it - 'Data' - but there is of course a 'Data' in Star Trek and so that's a real problem. The name lack uniqueness and could be easily confused in the minds of sci-fi geeks.

And so I'm calling upon the plethora of readers of this blog to come up with alternative suggestions.

I'm not going to outline the full extent of my powers and persona here but in order to think of names, you'll need at least something to go on. So here it is:

DATA……Data is information. Information is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is in books. Books should be read at lightning speed by a super reader. A super reader would be super-powerful from their super -intelligence. Super-intelligence at a super-speed….
Have an enemy who is a martial arts expert? Give Data Girl a raft of martial arts books to read at lightning speed and, hey presto, she knows every martial arts move ever written about.
Got a nasty, little complex bomb to deactivate? No problem. Data Girl has read every tome in the British Library on bombs. She knows how to dispose of it in the most efficient and effective way.
Need a war strategy? No problem. Data Girl knows the Art of War like the back of her hand.

You seeing it?

So there's the brief for Data Girl and her powers of the mind.

All name suggestions much appreciated.

Data Girl…… Where did she come from? Who is her arch enemy? What are the full extent of Data Girl powers? What is her superhero costume? What be her weapons? Find out… same time, same place…

Monday, November 19

Three further

OK, so I could have deleted out three of my current 101, create a 104 list or just add them here.

Deletion of three would mean new additions may go unnoticed by my profusion of readers; I don't like the number 104...... so the new three will just get added here.

Be a gangster's wife.
Be an art thief.
Serve on an MI6 mission.

Thursday, November 15

101 things to do before I die

So yesterday, being quiet at work, I spent some time mooching around links from friend's blogs and came across this site

I love making a list as much as the next man (or woman) so inspired by the blog, decided to while away my non-chargeables by constructing my own '101 things to do before I die' list.

It's highly idealistic - I have not limited my goals by realism or achievability in any way.
Feel free to add any list you care to make to the comments section. I'd love to read them.

Live in Calcutta
Start an animal sanctuary in Africa
Meet my soul mate
Weigh eight and three quarters of a stone (as an adult)
Contribute towards the survival of the Mountain Gorilla
Meet Johnny Depp
Write a best-selling and critically acclaimed book
Meet an alien life form
Back-pack around the world for two years
Stand as a Green Party Member of Parliament
Learn at least one non-native language fluently
Understand and remember the theory of relativity
See the inside of the Sistine Chapel
Be surprised by the man I love by a silver service dinner on a cliff side/beach side position and a waiter to serve us.
Go to a masquerade ball at the Venice Carnival
Meet a mountain gorilla
Buy my Mum a house abroad
Buy a house in Tuscany
Drink a bottle of wine that costs over £500
Be a classics scholar
Enter a tango competition
Run an independent book shop
Go to the Hay-on-Wye book festival
Own a cottage in the country with an open fireplace
Work for the United Nations Human Rights Commission
Go to Glastonbury Festival
Become an adept skier
Own a horse
Meet the Dalai Lama
Witness China's withdrawal from Tibet
Learn to recite fifty of my favourite poems
Learn Sanskrit
Be in a Bollywood movie
Go skinny-dipping in my own pool at midnight
Paint a picture that's competent enough to hang above my fireplace
Buy a golden retriever
Go on an African safari
Develop a successful eco-business
Establish a human rights precedent
Go on holiday with my siblings and cousins
Be written as a character in a novel
Spend £1000 on Rigby and Peller lingerie
Invest in the stockmarket
Bake my own bread
Read the Oxford English dictionary front to back
Grow a cottage garden that has a stream running through it
Inspire someone to something wonderful
Learn to play the violin
Be described as 'diplomatic'
Join the Northern Ballet Company
Do a PhD
Solve a crime
Stand at the window of a traditional Parisian apartment with a wooden easel and stand and paint Roll in a field of daisies
Walk unafraid through a woodland at night-time
Camp in the rainforest
Live in Lisbon again
Dye my hair peroxide blonde and wear it with Marcel waves
Find an abandoned bag of puppies and give them a happy life
Learn how to do The Times Cryptic crossword
Have an article published in The Independent
Swim holding on the fin of a dolphin
Become a vegan
Make a chocolate soufflé
Volunteer with Medicin Sans Frontier
Learn the art of Burlesque
Own an LPG engine Nissan Figaro
Cry with happiness
Get jiggy in a library
Visit every country in the world
Have dinner with Bill Clinton, Shami Chakrabati, Michael Moore and George W Bush
Have tea and cake with Alan Bennett
Have a picnic in the grounds of a ruined castle
Star in a musical
Fly first class from London to New York
Work at the Virunga Mountain Research facility
Eat at a three-star Michelin restaurant
Own an Italian vineyard
Create and draw my comic book superhero alter-ego
Wear a white and gold sari to an Indian wedding
Find a dead body
See England win the World Cup
See my critically acclaimed book be converted into a film
Get jiggy in a lift
Win Pro-Bono Lawyer of the Year
Be able to identify all countries of the world on a blanked-out globe
Have a party attended by every single one of my friends
Meet a talking animal
End the fur trade
Become a makeup artist
Design my own range of corsets and lingerie
Spend a night in a museum
Develop and apply my own employee policy
Open a vintage clothes shop
Attend an open air opera in Venice or Verona
Learn how to fence
Be in Strictly Come Dancing with Brendan as my teacher
Live in a hippy eco-commune for three months
Stay a night at the Ritz
Find a treasure map

Have my own library

Wednesday, November 14

Head over heels update

Trips have been quite low on the ground this week. I suffered one yesterday and one the day before that. Monday's imbalance occurence was a highly dangerous and potentially fatal one, however, and falls into the category of imbalance I call

The Down Stairs Heel-propeller

This is my most feared imbalance. Not only is it rationally the most dangerous but also I have a long-standing phobia of stairs. Stairs will end my life. Stairs are how I will pass.

When I am old and more imbalanced than I currently am, I will fall down a case of metal stairs and hit my head on the bottom stair and die.

I can't recall when this came to me but I know it for sure. Thus the reason for my phobia. (Which happens to be the opposite of my Mum's. She has a phobia of lifts and takes the stairs.)

So, on this particular occassion, I was approaching the METAL stair case that leads down from Darwen train platform to the car park, a stairwell I have to face daily. On about the fourth or fifth step, I did not outstretch my foot enough when passing from one stair to another.... the back of my heel nipped the front of the passing stair and I was propelled forwards treacherously. Fortunately, the treachery was only momentary and I managed to regain my balance. My heart raced but I was fine. I was alive.

The Sidewards Swoon

This is the imbalance most directly descended from my weak ankle genes. The Down Stairs Heel-propeller has nothing to do with ankle/weakness and more to do with a lack of foot/eye coordination on my part (I will return to the subject of this equally worrying and potentially fatal infirmity at a later date)

So I was walking down Manchester's pavements, minding my own business and I came to pass over the bumpy, red concrete slabs that adorn the ends of our pavements for the benefit of the sight-deficient. If you imagine my ankles as personas akin to that of Mrs Bennett, then you will understand that the slightest divergence from the norm is likely to result in fits of faintness. And so it was this Tuesday afternoon. My ankle, finding the red bumps a little too offbeat, responded by simply passing out. It decided instead to lie down there on the pavement and thus collapsed itself sidewards to meet the street.

Fortunately, I managed to remain upright. Which does not always happen. No, on this occasion I stumbled, I called out to the Lord in pain, but I prevailed perpendicular. It was of course the right ankle. It's always the right ankle. It's also always this unnatural 90 degree bending motion that is the imbalance that most often results in a swollen ankle. It is my most frequent imbalance.

(A thought has just occurred to me, perhaps I should dab my feet with smelling salts each morning in an attempt to ward-off any inclination to swooning.)

Monday, November 5

Head over heels

No, I'm not talking about love...... I'm talking about a far more physical phenomenon, a phenomenon I experience daily.

To expand, it is, I suppose, more of a physical instability. A musculoskeletal frailty. I entitle it a 'phenomenon' as bizarrely both myself and my younger sister are subject to it. Not so Caroline though. Caroline, the eldest, has always been the more level-headed and balanced of the lot of us. On this issue, it is no different.

Amanda and I seem (unlike the majority of people above toddler-age and below decrepitude) unable to remain upright for unbroken periods of time. We are prone to, literally, falling head over heels, on an alarmingly regular basis. I'd say I that on average, twice a day I will experience some form of slip or trip or tumble or fall or totter or nose-dive. The most i have experienced in a 24 hour hour (sober) period is four 'imbalance occurrences'.

My former-partner made much of the fact that I am perennially found in a pair of (de minimis) two inch high heels and was constantly heard to wail 'Naaaaddderlie, buy some sensible shoes' 'Hon, you can't go out in thoooose'. And then, when I fell, he would just look at me and shake his head and often (and this KILLED me...or made me want to kill him) say 'See, I TOLD you not to wear those shoes'. I would rejoin with the same argument I will outline here:-

It is NOT my shoes. Ever since I was little, I have had 'weak' ankles and wrists..... when I was FIVE, my Uncle dislocated my wrists by merely picking me up by them. When I was SEVEN, Mum dislocated my wrists by PULLING MY COAT OFF (elasticated wrist bands). It's NOT my shoes.... I have a physical impairment. (note Amanda did not suffer from this dislocation - just me - I am more severe than her i.e. I need more sympathy).

Anyway, the whole point of me detailing this to you is because from today onwards I plan, merely for my own amusement and interest, to diarise in this blog my daily imbalance occurrences along with an in-depth description of the specific 'imbalance-type' and apparent cause.

I will note at the outset that my right ankle has been in a constant state of inflamation since one especially bad stumble some four months ago. It has never healed properly and I doubt it ever will. I think I am terminally injured. I therefore anticipate the majority of injuries to be sustained in the right ankle and to compound my terminal injury.

For your information, said imbalance occurred in a wholely sober state. I was, coincidentally, wearing my wardrobe's highest heels.