Saturday, February 07, 2009

More family ties

A sequel to this post and this one. I realise that census records of my ancestors aren't terribly interesting to anybody outside my immediate family, but as I keep saying, it's my blog, not yours, and I can write about whatever I want. So nyah. And maybe somebody else out there will think it's cool too, who knows? Besides, tonight's subject matter was either this or Ham and Ex, the loveable cartoon puppies from mid-1930s Looney Tunes, so I'm not going for mass appeal here either way.

So, fans of Grandma's star turn on "The Mentalists" can now see the 1911 census returns featuring her parents! My family tree is very lopsided - thanks to the huge generation gaps in the Pridmore family, my great-grandparents on that side were actually a fair few years older than my great-great-grandparents on the Bancroft branch. Here's great-grandma:

Ada Eliza Batty, a 17-year-old worsted spinner from Wakefield. It is cool to see all these distant relatives - if only I had more time on my hands, I'd try to track down the descendants of all those great-great-uncles-and-aunts in my extensive family tree. Of course, this research would be a bit more exciting if there was a single person anywhere in my family history who wasn't from a working-class Yorkshire family, but at least I make everybody else's ancestors look fascinating by comparison...

Anyway, here's great-granddad:

Herbert William Bancroft, 14-year-old apprentice bricklayer. Lots of bricklayers in my family. And hey, check it out, no infant mortality among the Bancrofts! Five children and they're all still alive in 1911! And they've even apparently got a 9-month-old 'boarder', Ethel Gough. I have no idea what that was about - I'll ask Grandma when I go to see her next weekend.

As a footnote, having had a telling-off when I phoned her today, here's a public apology for not calling or visiting Grandma nearly enough, considering I only live just down the road and all. I really am terribly sorry.

Tomorrow, Ham and Ex, the loveable puppies from mid-1930s Looney Tunes.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Snow! Possibly. Maybe I'll make a snowman out front and then throw snowballs at it. Or maybe I'll stay indoors where it's warm and watch the telly. Or play the ukulele. We'll see how the mood takes me.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Wiki wiki woo

I disapprove of Wikipedia. It's almost certainly a bad thing that a website so full of wild inaccuracies and outright lies should be the first port of call for anybody conducting research into anything. On a related note, I believe that editing one's own Wikipedia page is just about the worst thing anybody can do, ethically speaking. You have to be a terrible swollen-headed oaf to care what is written about you on a website like that.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. See, if somebody doesn't edit my Wikipedia page very soon indeed, I'm going to have to do it myself, and then I'll be consumed with shame and self-loathing. I also disapprove of asking people to edit my page, of course, so I'm not doing that tonight. I just want to say that it would be cool if someone made sure the world records list was up to date, complete and didn't include things that aren't world records held by me. It'd be great if somebody wrote a bit more in the body of the article about the TV shows I've been on, like the time I made a complete fool of myself on Blue Peter or the thing with the chimp. It would be extremely groovy if somebody realised that I didn't 'recently' quit my job (two and a half years out of date with that bit now), and that I was never working on a novel unless you count the NaNoWriMo. Similarly, if only somebody would remove the description of me as 'a writer' unless and until I actually write something, ever.

And wouldn't it be fantastic if somebody slipped in a 'fact' that's completely untrue, like for example that I won the hammer throw at the North Berwick Highland Games in 2003, and threw in a link to a website that looks at first glance that it might be corroborating evidence for that claim, just to see if it slips past the Wiki editors? I tell you, I'm just itching to do that myself, but I worry about the morality of the whole thing...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

One point twenty-one gigawatts!

Well, you can't see that Back To The Future is on Sky and not watch it, can you? Even though it's getting alarmingly close to the point where I could travel thirty years back in time and hang out with my teenage self, which makes me worry that I'm never going to be the star of a teen movie. Heck, I'm even older than Michael J Fox was when he last played 17-year-old Marty!

Also, I really suck at doing things, just lately. Will someone please come round here and bully me into organising all the various events/get-togethers I'm supposed to be organising?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Another one to set the video for

Tuesday, 10th February, 10:35pm, BBC1 - "Make Me... Smart". Featuring that loveable World Memory Champion, whatsisname.

I can't promise it's any good, I haven't seen it yet, but hey, it's got me in it.

Also, apparently, this is the UK version, trimmed down to fit BBC1's timeslot (not a great timeslot, incidentally - don't they know I'm a major superstar who should be broadcast in primetime? Between EastEnders and Holby City, say?). There's also a longer, 'international' version that will be making its way around the world via BBC Worldwide, so truly devoted Pridmore-philes will have to track down both of them to add to the constantly-looped video playing on all four wall-sized screens in their Ben-Shrine.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Cycling in a winter wonderland

It's really great when it snows all day long like this! Even though this part of the country always gets much less snow than all the rest, it works out quite well today, because we got a reasonable amount, whereas the rest got too much. Even cycling to work through a snowstorm is quite fun, every once in a while. It's invigorating!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

How do you do, do you do, the thing that you do?

Ace wondered, via a blog-comment, what exactly an accountant does. I must say, I'm a bit in the dark too. Of course, I do have that self-imposed ban on talking about my work on this blog (and I only violate it once a week or so at the most), but I'm not actually working as an accountant right now, I'm an analyst, which is an entirely different kettle of fish, so I'm quite at liberty to talk about it.

I do, however, firmly believe that accountants are unnecessary in this world. Their very existence rather clashes with my socialist principles. You might wonder why I choose to do it for a living, but basically, it's because I'm good at it and people give me money to do it, and my socialist principles aren't really what you'd call a deeply held belief system. I'm still a working class hero, though - look, I've got a blister on my thumb and everything.

I would like to come up with a snappy definition of accountants, such as Ambrose Bierce or Samuel Johnson might have come up with, along the lines of 'someone who tells a company how much money they have and then takes every penny in fees', or 'one whose entire working life is devoted to bending the facts in order to justify his employment' but I can't think of a good one.