CLICK HERE to hear the title opening of CONNECTED, the Audio Book When the nice people at Cherry Hill Publishing approached me last year, asking if they could publish an audio book version of Connected, I had little experience of this rich and rapidly growing format, or what the publication process would entail.
December 28th, 20124 Comments, General, by Simon.
Having been asked by staff at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to write a short account of our experiences there, following the birth of our twins, this is an attempt to summarise those 9 1/2 weeks in a way that might be useful to other parents about to embark on a similar journey. For most parents-to-be, the expectation is of a natural child-birth after some 40 weeks of pregnancy – give or take a week or so. As parents of twins, we knew our two would probably arrive 2 or 3 weeks earlier than this, which for us would hopefully mean just in time for Christmas. Yet from around week 23, with the start of intermittent bleeding and water-loss, these expectations were about to be shattered.
December 15th, 2012No Comments, General, by Simon.
Whether yesterday’s tragedy could have been avoided with tighter gun controls will once again be hotly debated. For those of us watching from the other side of the pond, it’s hard to understand the passion with which so many Americans defend what they see as their god-given right to bear arms. But when mainstream news anchors like Fox’s Bill O’Reilly behave like this towards anyone with the temerity to challenge that right, one soon realises how entrenched this “gun culture” has become, and how hard it will be to eradicate. Incidentally, inviting people onto your show only to lecture them on why you think they are wrong and without giving them any opportunity to defend their position, does seem a bizarre variation on the “interview” format.
November 24th, 20121 Comment, General, by Simon.
Five weeks after the nail-biting experience of having our twins born two months early, my wife and I have now settled into a routine of regular visits to the neonatal intensive care unit, where our little boy and girl try to complete the remainder of their gestation in perspex boxes. And so, as they lie there, mostly peacefully but with occasional myoclonic jerks, hiccups and tentative openings of the eyes, I find myself wondering what, if anything could be passing through their little minds. Do they even have minds? Are they even capable of consciousness at such an early stage of development?
October 21st, 20127 Comments, General, by Simon.
On Wednesday October 17th2012, at 10:14am, a tiny baby boy weighing just 1.05Kg was lifted from my wife’s womb through an emergency Caesarian section. One minute later, following a slight widening of the incision, he was joined by his 915g twin sister. As I sat, head-end of the partition, comforting my awake yet spinally anaesthetized spouse, I caught glimpses of red and pink flesh being whisked away into the corner of the room, where a half-dozen doctors and nurses immediately busied themselves with swift, practised efficiency. For the next minute or so, the operating theatre seemed eerily quiet, then a brief, soft, plaintive cry broke the silence. This was followed almost immediately by a repetitive, almost musical set of tones reminiscent of an arcade game, but which, under the circumstances seemed more likely to be an alarm of some kind. Here I must admit, I lost track of time. For what seemed like a further 30 minutes, but which in hindsight was probably only 5 or 10, we waited, trying to take comfort in each other’s presence, desperately hoping to hear that our babies were safe and well.
September 29th, 20125 Comments, General, by Simon.
My eldest daughter and I recently rented the film Source Code, a fast-paced time-slip / alternative-reality action thriller in which an US army pilot, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, awakens on a commuter train with no memory of how he got there, and inexplicably inhabiting the body of a total stranger. After 8 minutes, the train blows up, although you’ll be pleased to hear that this is not the end of the story. As Science Fiction films go, it’s not bad – providing you don’t examine the science too carefully. The plot rips along, ticking all the boxes for action, fantasy, romance and mystery with even a hint of philosophical questioning, which sets you thinking (or rather scratching your head) after the film ends. So it was no surprise when, as the credits started to roll, my daughter turned to me with the now familiar words, “Wait a minute! So what really happened?”
September 16th, 20122 Comments, General, by Simon.
In part 1 of this essay, we looked briefly at the history of music and at possible explanations for its universal appeal. Today, I want to discuss three recent pieces of research which further support and expand on what we’ve already discussed.