b3ta.com user Moniker
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» Tales of the Unexplained

Scaring my neighbour
I'm not into supernatural stuff at all, but when I was just a wee thing I managed to scare the bejeesus out of my neighbour.

When I was about 4 or 5, any random bangs or funny noises that I heard I decided were our resident ghost saying hi. This ghost I named George.

We live in an old house, and our neighbours are on the ground floor. I'm far more inclined now to blame funny noises on the neighbours and the central heating. The flickering lights, that poor George also got the blame for, I'm going to put down to the dimmer switches that were fitted at the time.

Anyway, one day my neighbour was round for a cup of tea or something, and a door blew shut so I cheerfully said "hi George!" and continued with whatever I was doing. This apparently freaked my neighbour out, and my dad's explanation didn't do much to help matters.

She went on to explain that the previous owner of the house had been called George, and had died in his sleep, in what was now my room! Spooky eh?!

Personally, I reckon that the choice of name had far more to do with my passion for the Famous Five than anything, but she didn't come round for tea much after that....
(Fri 4th Jul 2008, 10:36, More)

» Public Transport Trauma

For anyone familiar with Glasgow
Some of my worst public transport experiences have been due to the football fans round here, particularly those in the vicinity of Ibrox. No offence to anyone of that persuasion, it's just my bus route!

Particular favourites have included being the only sober and non-singing person on the bus, and my stop coinciding with a rather rousing chorus of "the bouncy", which, for anyone who hasn't yet had the pleasure, simply involves all participants jumping up and down and rocking the bus from side to side. Not the most graceful exit from a bus that I've ever made!

And then just last week I was lucky enough to enjoy a sing-off, in best sunday school picnic, front-v-back stylee. Being stuck in the middle between some Rangers fans at the back and the Celtic ones at the front made for quite a nervous journey, waiting to see which particular sectarian chant would be enough to provoke violence. Fortunately they all waited until they got off the bus to chase each other, depriving me of ringside seats for the bloodshed.
(Thu 29th May 2008, 16:01, More)

» This book changed my life

Enid Blyton!
The first book that was made an impression on me was the first book I read all on my own - Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton. I would have been about 5, and had been desperate to be able to read something for myself. This was my first choice because my parents had an old copy, a small red hardback from the 40s or 50s that smelt musty. Just looking at it seemed exciting! And I loved every second of reading it.

After finishing that one, I went straight into the next.... Everywhere I went during my childhood I had a book with me, especially in the car. Thanks to my mother, my formative years included as many examples of children's literature as she could lay her hands on, courtesy of a weekly trip to the local library.

Books led me to law school, where having to read a seemingly endless supply of musty old books made me give up the idea of reading for pleasure. Until I found the legal theory classes that is.

I can't identify any one book here that was really lifechanging, but the need to engage with what I read, to think about it and not just comprehend it, blew me away. The combination of Hobbes, Locke and Hume, Kant and Marx that we began with opened my eyes to being able to challenge and not just blindly accept what I was reading and what my lecturers said.

Thinking about it, Hobbes' Leviathan was probably my real introduction to not just philosophy and politics but also to reasoned thought and its application, and a whole new world of books. Cheers Thomas!
(Mon 19th May 2008, 16:13, More)

» Pet Peeves

Bus users
who get on with all their shopping, decide they don't like the look of any of the seats, and proceed to stand in the aisle causing as much hassle as possible for their fellow passengers.

Also those who have already received an honourable mention for crowding the doors on trains instead of letting others off. Get out the way first you utter twunts, so that we can both get where we want to be far faster!!!
(Tue 6th May 2008, 18:19, More)