Posts from 20th October 2004

Oct 04

FREAKY TRIGGER TOP 25 SCARIEST THINGS 12: Contracting Alzheimer’s Disease

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12: Contracting Alzheimer’s Disease

Not any old disease. Alzheimer’s. One day you are a bit forgetful. One day you cannot quite get your head around numbers. Too tired to read, even though you know it is not really tiredness. In two years, you will barely know your nearest and dearest.

I do not remember what it was like to be a baby. The babies I know probably don’t either, not to the extent they are able to self reflect and do more than process their experiences. But babies are full of promise, life will unfold for hem. The comparison of people with Alzheimer’s to babies mentally therefore misses this key point out. Physically they are well, the body does all it can to keep you living. But mentally, you are just no longer there. The classic case of lights on, no-ones home.

And yet there are glimpses. There are moments when suddenly the neurons line up and even the most profound Alzeimer’s suffer puts together a flash of recognition. How can you give up on someone who is in there. Someone, and this may be my greatest fear, that maybe they are still in there and just cannot get out. Trapped in the prison of the self.

Realistically I do not believe the latter. I think that goes, and tend towards the almost as heart-breaking thought that reactions of recognition are physical memories of habit rather than anything else. The alternative, these moment of Flowers For Algernon type remembrance would be too hard to bear.

There is a corollary to this fear, which is fear of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. The patient may be ignorant of their scenario once it has set in, you live with it 24/7 with someone who looks like your loved one but no longer has much more than a semblance of the personality they once had. And the spectre of this going on indefinitely as you get older. The racking of guilt when you consider leaving them with others, the consequence of sending them to a home. All horrific to me.

But why Alzheimer’s particularly for me. Simple. It is in my family. My Uncle contracted it about four years ago, at a relatively young age (which they suggest may be genetic). He was a favourite uncle, and my parents often compared me and my personality to him as a child. And now, he is a shadow of himself. My aunt is almost housebound by caring for him – this is not the retirement anyone envisioned. And I remember when we first started to notice, it was a source of humour. He’s been drinking to much to remember stuff, retirement is making his brain go soft. Do you watch yourself go? Do you feel yourself slipping away? Anytime I have forgotten something since my uncle was diagnosed I have paranoically considered it the first symptom. It looms over me, it is my fear.

I hate Pop so much right now…

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…and so would you if you’d seen the midweeks. Manics at #1 again with surely their most overwrought, wafflesome, draggy song ever. I honestly thought we’d seen the last of them as a commercial force.

Luckily the despair is lifted by one of Popjustice’s funniest ever features (entirely unrelated to the Manics. Thankfully.)

My Lonely War

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 303 views

My Lonely War

…against the forces of minimalism. Not yer art-world minimalism, or even (so much) your high-end design minimalism, but corporate minimalism, middlebrow minimalism, 80s-hangover “MORE WHITE SPACE PLEASE!” Neville Brody biting ‘tasteful’ minimalism. Am I inarticulate on this point? Quite possibly. But it starts especially to bug me as Christmas nears. Who would switch a fat tree, heaving with baubles, for an empty space arranged with frosted silver branches? Who would prefer to design a card with a single pert snowflake, or one bijou bauble, instead of joyful scenes of robins and snowmen and heaving geese? Corporate design mavens, THAT’S WHO!

blinded by the little picture

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 256 views

blinded by the little picture: more tumbles

the market’s year, nice and wriggly

the market’s day smoothed out (close of day 19 Oct = wheeee!)


Do You SeePost a comment • 1,168 views

WATCH WITH MOTHER: Rolf on Art (Turner)

mark s: the best part is his undisguised delight at his own gift
rolf (sitting back to look at tricky little bit of own handiwork): marvellous, look at that!
mum s: *chuckles*
mark s cuts viewing appointment short as has to collect takeaway from frankwell’s unprepossessing but actually excellent “mandarin” restaurant
mark s (some time later): how did rolf’s turner look in the end?
mum s: *chuckles*


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 401 views


Finally Team Albatross, made up of some people from this parish (me and Ben plus others) finally won a pub quiz. The downside: it was not in our normal pub.

The Harringey Arms is a nice pub. It has a really good pub quiz. But after six months of doing no better than second (and only once) we decided to go on tour. Truth be told the indiosyncracies of the Harringey Quiz had started to get to us. In particular the excessively long time in which each round was allowed to be completed. The more cyncical amongst us, noting excessive newspaper and occsional more than occasional mobile phone use started to get miffed by this factor, part of a quizzes appeal is in the instant(ish) recall. The nice atmosphere in the pub was being soured for us by the same teams winning every week, and the winning scores being only two or three points off of perfect.

So we decided to try the Quiz in The Old Dairy , Stroud Green instead. A big pub, a lot of teams and an indeterminate start time (it said 8:30 on the sign, but once the footie had finished and quiz lady had fannied around we did not start the fifty questions until gone 10pm). The questions were an okay mix of pretty bog-standard quiz questions, toughish but lacking the idiosyncracy of the best Harringey questions. Still there was a picture round (name that author, which our plucking out of the air of Francis Bacon was most cheery). And best of all, a music round which was “Name That Kylie” which certain members of the team excelled at.

But fifty questions take a long time to mark with well over fifteen minutes, and with team members falling asleep (teachers!) it was left to just myself and Ben to see how well we had done. We held out few hopes, after the previous six months. Well, we won. And at a comfortable margin too. Despite the sheet being added up wrong (we got full marks in the Kylie round despite not filling in one answer). The prize giving turned into a bit of a farce as the quiz mistress (a bit too jokey, but clear and fun) was taken to task over the dodgy arithmetic. But we won our gallon of beer and I guess we’ll be back.

But we will scratch that Harringey Itch. Publog Quiz Commando’s may be called in.

Sunday Evening Television – Midsummer Murders

Do You See25 comments • 4,371 views

Sunday Evening Television – Midsummer Murders

MM is now so synonymous with Sunday evenings it’s difficult to say which came first. It’s set in a part of England bereft of the dangers of multi-culturalism, where odd people are rechristened ‘eccentrics’ and despite a growing body count, it doesn’t affect the locals’ manners. “Terrible news about the postman being hacked to death with an axe, wasn’t it?” “Quite awful. Are you coming to Midsummer Fete at the weekend?” “Of course, I was welly-throwing champion last year.”

Everyone is so formal. “Ah, Chief Inspector Barnaby, hope you’re well this fine morning?” “Good morning Rector, my daughter sends her regards.” His daughter is the strangely named Cully and aged somewhere between 25 and 45. Personally I prefer Barnaby’s wife; quite fit for an older woman.

Scott, or his predecessor, Troy, are there because every copper needs a sidekick. They don’t interfere too much, aside from a bit of flirting with Cully and often threaten to leave to ‘go to the city’. In the end, they smirk and think they’ll ‘stick around’.

It generally takes the full two hours for Barnaby to work out who the killer is. “I think you’re the murderer, Rector.” The Rector, splashed with blood and holding an axe, is the last surviving citizen of Midsummer Fannydangle.

In the original series, it was easier to work out; the murderer was always the most famous ‘guest star’. Famous is a relative term of course, we’re talking Crossroads, Miss Marple, “that’s thingy” actors.

I tried watching an episode without drinking once. I wouldn’t recommend that, but with a bottle of wine, it winds-down Sunday nicely.