About the ending of ‘The Wasp Factory’

wasp factoryI just finished reading “The Wasp Factory” by Iain Banks, and I am quite puzzled by the ending.


The final reflections by the main character seem, to me, to be too lucid and balanced for someone who was so delusional and single minded throughout the whole book.


Did you read this book, and what do you make of that final section?

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Gender stereotypes start early

Agency Anomaly asked children if Santa could be a woman. Their replies are quite depressing:


It really makes me despair… no surprises, then, that women still earn a lot less than men for the same job, and are less likely to go for promotions and ask for a salary raise 😦

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Why didn’t I do this earlier?

I just completed an admin task that I’ve been agonising over for 6 weeks. It took me 45 minutes. Boom.

This task came into my inbox a few days before I went on holidays, and it was meant to be completed within a few days. Since then, I have read the e-mail several times. I added a note to my to do list. I even set a time in my diary to do it. But I never did it. And, of course, it has been in the back of my mind, all this time.

But, now, I finally got round to completing this task. It took me 45 minutes, which is a lot less time than I spent ‘planning it’. And it was such a relief to strike this off my list, and get it out of my mind. I couldn’t help asking me: why didn’t I do this earlier?

I really should know better by now, and not procrastinate this sort of tasks. Argh.

Do you have a system / mantra / trick to get you to do those things you have to, and save your time and energy thinking about it?

If Friends were being filmed now…

If friends were being filmed now, how would Rachel and Ross search for the meaning of Emma’s first word, Gleba*?


Search on their mobile phones? Ask Siri?

* you can watch the episode of Emma’s first word, here.

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The new, old office

Three years ago, when I took up a new role, I moved into a different building. It was the custom, you see. Colleagues who had held the post previously, had offices in that building. I got a new, shinny office, close to other colleagues with similar roles.

But that office was far away from the team I need to work with on a daily basis. And, over time, I noticed that I became less familiar with what was happening with that team. The day to day interactions were missing and, with that, the ability to notice changes in patterns and moods; the opportunity for serendipity, and the casual conversations. Even in today’s world of hyper connectivity, physical proximity is key to foster empathy and a sense of purpose, to use resources more effectively, and to solve problems quickly.

So, this week, I moved offices, again.

I have a new office, which is the same office I used to have. My old office. It is smaller. And shabbier. And has a problem with the heating (way too hot!). But it is just around the corner from the staff kitchen. And it feels great.


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When you need to say ‘No’, say this

I confess: I find it really hard to say ‘no’.

This could be because I am a novelty-seeker, a trait that has served me well on some occasions but, on others, it has led to unnecessary stress and impacted negatively on my ability to deliver on what really matters.
It could also be because I am generally an agreeable person, who tries to help out and does not like to let others down. For instance, two days ago I received this e-mail inviting me to join an advisory group. This is a role that sounds really boring and time consuming, has very few upsides and a lot of downsides. I really do not want to say ‘yes’. Yet, I haven’t yet managed to hit the reply button and say ‘no’, because I think that this person will struggle to find someone who wants to do that job and I want to help her.

So, I was delighted to come across this list of 10 suggestions on how to say no in an assertive way, taken from the book “The Black Academic’s Guide to Winning Tenure—Without Losing Your Soul”, written by Kerry Ann Rockquemore and Tracey Laszloffy. These are my favourites:


How do you say no?

UPDATE: I just replied to that e-mail. I said no 🙂

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Common writing mistakes and why we make them by @jbernoff

My better-half sent me this article explaining why we make certain writing mistakes, and offering tips on how to correct them. The article, also included this handy table summarising the main points:


Image source: here

Go ahead. Bookmark it, make it your screen saver, stick it to your wall… whatever. Just keep it.

Happy writing x

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Flush it down. It’s therapeutic.

Not long ago, I read an interview with somebody who was recovering from cancer. She said that she had tried to maintain a positive attitude throughout, and explained how she dealt with her dark moments:


Fortunately, I never faced moments as dark as this lady’s, but once I did flush someone’s picture down the toilet. It felt great!

Next time something or someone is getting to you, try this. It is very therapeutic.

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It’s a girl

I checked the news at lunch time, and ITV’s royal correspondent, Eve Pollard, was commenting on the birth of the new princess, the second child of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. Very excitedly, she said that the new born would be “the youngest fashion icon in the world“, right from the moment she left hospital.

What a depressing thought!

A girl is born in 2015. In a modern, developed country. And the most exciting thing this commentator found to say about her is that she will be known for her looks.

Eve Pollard

PS – At the time of writing this post, Eve Pollard’s comment is available here.


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