Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
First, a recommendation. Dive over to The Jonathan Day Fiction Site and try some of the stories. I love this author's writing - it's funny, bitingly witty, dryly incisive, chilling, and deliciously subversive by turns. Absolutely well worth a look!
Friday, November 09, 2018
Phew! (Later edit)
Tyjer's new perch. Off the cold wet ground and catching the autumnal sun.
My garden is a beautiful array of glorious colours, even on a wet, cold, autumn morning...
All is going well. The excavation licence for the dropped kerb HAS now been applied for, according to Highways, and should be authorised soon.
Watching: we're coming to the end of Millennium season 1 - ye gods it's good! Very disturbing, frightening in places, but a damn fine phenomenon. Ken and I watched Fireflies in the Garden, which is a fine, understated but very well-acted film. Ryan Reynolds continues to surprise, charm and delight. We've also recently watched Little Buddha which is strange but interesting... and Dangerous Liaisons (both to indulge my Keanu Reeves guilty pleasure!): the latter is an amazing film, best described by one of the comments on the IMDb - "Costumes and sets are beautiful. Watch this one if you are in the mood for betrayal, deception and characters that you want to slap."
Ken and I went out to Westbury-on-Trym last week - Ken to visit the library there and me to scour the village's excellent charity shops. Came home with a pile of DVDs - Groundhog Day (haven't seen it in years but Kai likes it and Youtube's Looper recommends it as one of the 8 films to see before you die...), The Light Between Oceans (I like Fassbender's acting), A Dog's Purpose (saving that one for Yule), Green Wing season 2 (for the hell of it), The Story of the Total Eclipse (the 1999 one we saw in Babbacombe), Red Dwarf's Back to Earth (should be fun!), Yakuza Apocalypse (because after Wild Zero I have a hankering for some more Japanese "demented brilliance", as the YA cover says), and Aqua Teen Hunger Force Vol 1. I watched some eps of this on Adult Swim back when we actually had decent cable channels and want to see if it's as insane as I remember it to be...
Celestial Geometry is being printed as a paperback! This is great news. Even better - or possibly worse - is when we were forwarded a letter from a US university member pointing out a truly awful error on page 124 of the hardback: a letter that was sent in Feb 2016!! [sigh] There are very good reasons why we've only just got it but it looks very bad to any outsider...
Anyway - she complained that the caption made no sense, and when we checked she's absolutely right. The correct caption for the pic is:
To our horror, we found that some idiot editor at the publishers had changed it to:
Which is, of course, a cack-handed partial description of lunar ECLIPSES and absolute nonsense when referring to moon phases... Not at ALL happy...
AND it was changed AFTER we'd OKed the final proofs of the book. [headdeskheaddeskheaddesk] The publisher has apologised but has no idea why or how it happened: we've stressed that it needs to be corrected for the paperback: I've written back to our American commenter to apologise and explain. (The upshot is we've asked for her name to be included in the Author Acknowledgements on the last page.)
Oh, and we're rehoming Rosa. I finally just got fed up with being wholly responsible for her. It's been 15 years and she was never my choice of pet in the first place. It'll be a shame to see her go but I want to shed responsibilities at this stage - Ken and Kai agree. I joined the Tarantula Hobbyist Facebook page and posted a general query, and had 19 replies in the first hour! Anyway, a member of the Invicta Arachnid Club (over Kent way) is collecting her next week, so I think I can be sure she's going to a good home.
Lastly, Ambit Security are booked to come and rejig our alarm system in Dec (replacing all the old magnetic catches and fitting motion detectors as well), then in Jan we're having an external camera fitted to watch over the garden (and the fence area specifically. Since BND can't be trusted not to cause more damage to our property, and lies continually about his actions, we have no option but to record what he does, either with the fence paint or anything else). The camera will be standalone (integration with the internet makes hacking a possibility), with its own monitor and a 1 terabyte harddrive (holds about a month's worth of recording before starting over, and sections can be taken off on a pendrive - should do the job).
Oh look. I did manage a proper post anyway! Need a lie down now...
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Interesting. When I headed off to Sains for a small shop this morning, there were yellow painted lines on the pavement and kerb where the drive access is going to be. They weren't there yesterday morning...
About to settle down with caramel lattes and salted caramel cookies to watch Justice League - nice colourful action for a Saturday matineé.
Friday, October 26, 2018
So, two (working) weeks after their last visit, I'd still had no news about the drive's dropped kerb, so I rang Highways again. Surprise surprise, no licence application had been made.
So I sent them an email - text copied here as I'm now keeping a proper public record of events:
Then I rang them to say it had been sent...
Exactly four minutes later I got an email back - "It is all in process". I assume he means progress.
It's the weekend now. I'll ring Highways again on Monday, and if the licence still hasn't been applied for we'll consider firing them and getting someone else to finish the job. Then we'll consider what to do next. Applying for a refund through the small claims court is a possibility, as is making a complaint to Trading Standards. And of course, there's always review sites - not just at bark.com. There's a very useful facebook page called Name and Shame Cowboy Builders which is open to anyone to join and post to.
Will update as events unfold...
Onto more pleasant things... Wendy visited yesterday! Had a fantastic time, as always, and she brought up Deja Vu, which we've never seen but which looks very good - might watch that tomorrow.
It was great to see you again!
Ken and I watch Little Buddha (Kai was working with friends on the uni site so opted out). It's a strange but interesting film. Won't be to everyone's taste, but surprisingly thought-provoking.
I've never mentioned it, but it's always annoyed me that if you want caller number display with VirginMedia you had to pay for it - until just recently, when suddenly I noticed numbers appearing on the screen! It's now been introduced into our area, and it's great. We're being plagued with scam TPS calls at the moment: I'm now making a list of numbers NOT to answer (we could get call blocking but you still have to pay for that. This works fine for now.)
That's probably about it for now. I need to nip over to Tesco, but there's rain forecast for the next couple of hours, and If I'm to use the wheelie, my walking stick and an umbrella I need three hands. Which I don't have, honest... Will wait til after lunch.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Later edit: - forgot to say I emailed a letter of complaint over the weekend and got a reply back, so at least someone there is tech savvy. Though not overly literate...
11 am bully shows up with two men from the co he uses for licence application - I think he said it was Greentree, which does exist according to the web. No apologies, just 'assurance' that 8 weeks is the absolute maximum it'll take to get the licence. It should be much much quicker for us. Though since I refused outright to shake his hand at the end of the conversation and shut the door on him it'll probably be delayed...
Onto more pleasant matters. Since we no longer have a gate the only house identification were two small, very inconspicuous numbers that we screwed into the wall to the right of the porch when we first bought the house. (There was a number painted in black on a scruffy white patch on the left but I tried to get rid of that as it was ugly.) Really not great for identification, especially since the numbering in this part of the street goes from 59 to 77 with just a lane in between (we tell people there's actually a row of 8 houses in between but you need a Hogwart's spell to make them appear...) So I found a rather nice slate no. plaque on amazon and ordered one for us. It took a while to reach me as the number on the package was only half of our real number (a mistyping, I guess) but it arrived on Sat and I'm really pleased with it. K&K put it up on Sun afternoon and it looks very smart. Combined with the work we're doing on the front garden, the house will have definite kerb appeal by the time we've finished.
On that subject, Kai came to Hurran's with me on Sunday morning - I had £28 worth of vouchers to play with. We found three lovely conifers - two, silvery ones, will grow to 6 - 8 foot, the other one is low and sprawly, and a few Yuletide bits - and with the vouchers it ended up costing me exactly one pound, as although we didn't see any notices the conifers were on a 2 - 3 offer! Dead chuffed. Less chuffed at the fact the garden centre is closing, as it's been sold off for housing although we don't know when. Going to try to get back there early next month and see if the offer is still on, as it would be good to get a few more evergreens while we can.
Autumn is finally here. Winter downie went on the bed last weekend, and I've just put the heating on. The house is a lot warmer since we had the double-glazing done, but it's still a little too cool for comfort. And it's very difficult to get washing dried...
Ken picked up Agents of SHIELD: season 5 on his way back from work the day it appeared in the shops, and we watched the whole thing in less than a fortnight. Gods it's good! The phenomenon has gone from strength to strength and we're all completely hooked. Alas, season 6 isn't even showing yet (well, no summaries on the IMDb so I assume it isn't) which means it won't be available to buy until next year at the earliest. At the moment Kai and I are watching the whole thing from S1;ep1 onwards to try to cope with the withdrawal symptoms!
That being said, Legends of Tomorrow season 3 is now out, as is season 3 of Lucky Man, so will buy those in the near future. To our relief, amazon picked up The Expanse, so there will be more, although season 3 won't be available to buy until next November. Eh well, something to look forward to when the nights draw in next year!
I've managed to paint another wall, so the redecorating is coming along, if extremely slowly. Though it has been a bit of a manic year.
And Kai is doing well so far - easily able to keep up with and even get ahead in all of his subject units this year.
So, all in all, despite the irritating hassles, to date this year has actually been quite good! I would rather like next year to be a little quieter and more easy-going, though. Fingers crossed.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Next time it comes to choosing workmen I'm letting Ken do it. I opted for Fixit Landscaping and Driveway Contractors because they had good reviews on bark.com, and their 'mission statement' reads -
On the plus side, the younger guys work extremely hard and have done a good job. On the minus side...
They cost £1K more than three of the other quotes we've had. Yes, I should have challenged that at the time, but I hadn't read the statement at that point. The verbal agreement was no payment until after the work was completed, they estimated they could get the excavation licence in two to four days, and the entire job should be finished in around two weeks. They were able to start the same week, and I was happy with what they did. So when Luke asked for a deposit - to pay for materials and so they could pay for the licence I very stupidly said OK and arranged a BACS transfer (to his own account rather than a business account. Hm. Does that seem fishy to anyone else?) They said they'd be back on Monday: when they didn't turn up I rang and was told they were organising the licence that day but would be back on Tuesday. Which they were, then again on Friday to finish the drive. At which point the older guy - the boss, I assume - started up...
Have you ever had to deal with a whining brat who will not shut up? Add bullying and shouting to that and that's what he's like. Ken listened in and agrees with me, he is HORRIBLE to deal with, and eventually I gave in and BACSed another part payment for the licence. Because he was apparently lying when he said he was sorting it out on Monday. He then said it would be applied for the following Monday (Oct 1st).
Monday 8th I'd heard nothing, so rang Highways at Bristol City Council, only to find that no licence had been applied for either for the house or by the builders. So I rang him back and told him, and he apologised ans said he'd get onto his men and get it sorted. Yesterday he rang me to apologise again, telling me that the father of the guy who was supposed to be arranging it had died and had been uncontactable for a few days. Yeah right - I'm going to believe that after all the other lies he's told me...
They're coming back on Tuesday next week, supposedly to get the measurements for the kerb dropping and no doubt to demand more money. I've contacted a few other kerb-dropping specialists to see if I can use someone else instead, then I can just fire Fixit and get professionals. I'm tempted to use my phone to film next Tuesday's meeting in case of repercussions. I am absolutely going to use what I've typed here to post brutally honest reviews everywhere I can. I took a photo of the crew - perfectly legally, stood in the porch, announced I was going to take it and told them to smile. They didn't, but neither did any of them object or turn away - which shows the faces quite clearly. Always useful to have backup!
I really don't need this stress.
Monday, October 01, 2018
YAY! Five minutes peace to sit and update!
... and I wrote that 48 hours ago... heh.
Anyway - I do now have a few mins to type, so, what's been happening?
Weather wasn't brilliant over the weekend before last, so we watched things on Saturday - Deadpool 2 which is brilliantly funny and really quite clever. MOST enjoyable! Kai and I have continued watching Agents of SHIELD (season 1) all through last week.
Sunday was the usual cleaning, shopping and general busyness, and Kai's venesection in the afternoon.
On Monday I had a dr's appt to ask about my eye (right one has been badly bloodshot for over a month now - no pain and it's not affecting my vision but it looks horrible). Dr said it's either episcleritis or inflamed pterygium, not dangerous as it's not spread over the cornea, it should go by itself over time but I should get it looked at at the Eye Hospital if it gets worse or worries me. They can give steroid drops which would clear it up (she can't prescribe them), and she'd be interested in knowing their diagnosis. If she makes the appt it will take between 2 - 5 months: if I just turn up at opening time and wait to be seen it would be much quicker. In the meantime it looks as though it's finally clearing up of its own accord, so not going to waste time if it's not necessary. Simple eye drops prevent it getting too dry.
The electricians from Ian Williams came to put in the extractor fan. Rather a lot of hammering and drilling (made the house vibrate...) but it's in, it's tiny, but ye gods is it efficient! Absolutely no humidity at all (and given I like my water one click down from maximum heat that's really saying something). It keeps the bathroom so dry it even helps with personal drying off! Very happy with it.
On Tuesday left Fixit carrying on with the drive while I went swimming with Kim. The pool water was bath-warm again, but managed 28 lengths, so that was OK.
Wed was another shopping/sorting stuff out day, and finishing the web content from Chelsey (it's the Frankfurt Book Fair in a couple of weeks so this time of the year there's usually quite a lot to do to the website). Kai finished choosing and applying for the units he's taking this year - including Advanced High Performance Computing, Types and Lambda Calculus, Artificial Intelligence with Logic Programming, and Image Processing and Computer Vision - and applied for some time with the uni's super computer. I'm going to hazard a guess that I may not be of much use to him, academically speaking, this year!
Then on Thursday the decorators arrived to paint the bathroom... We had a choice of magnolia or white (not great but hey, it was free, and it saved me doing it!), so went with white. They've done a cracking job, and although I was a bit concerned the white would look cold and clinical, they used a matte white paint and with the white tiles, white shower and white curtains it's a bit like showering inside a cloud. And it really brings out the colour of the teal towels and bathmat, the royal blue and gold lino, and the warm pine of the cabinet and loo seat, so for the time being I'm very happy with it.
Now if they would just fix the curtain rail everything would be near-perfect...
Friday Kai had a meeting at uni - introduction to the new academic year - and spent some time with me discussing how he's going to cope with the work and his fatigue. He's going to go in for all the classes, but can manage the lectures at home, as they're always posted on the uni's internal site, and we know from experience Kai learns better that way. It's going to be a tough but hopefully very interesting year for him.
And Fixit finished the drive (but not the kerb drop - that's going to take up to another 10 days. Fingers crossed it's less...) I had to move Derpy while they finished up, so drove Kai and I to Sainsbury's to get a heavy shop (litre cartons of the iced coffee Kai likes, tins of beans and meatballs etc etc). First proper drive for me and first time driving with his mum for Kai. All went nice and smoothly. And when we got back no work had been done as the blade on the compactor had bust and they were off hunting for a replacement... [sigh] Parked up outside Bill's house and left them to it.
But they did get the work finished, and we now have a beach outside the front door!
Going to look pretty good once I've got everything planted up.
Sat was shopping, then Ken and I watched Lesbian Vampire Killers (49p from a charity shop in Weston). It was OK. Mostly harmless, mildly amusing in places. Kai opted to miss it as he was doing well with the programme he's been working on this summer.
Sunday Ken and I bussed out to Hurrans - for a break, to get out of the house, and treat ourselves to a salted caramel latte (for me) and an Americano (for Ken). Except the cafe was closed, and they didn't have the jardiniere I wanted. Eh well. It was fun anyway! In the evening Ken and I (Kai caught 15 mins and walked out in disgust) watched Mallrats (another picked up cheaply at Weston)... 90s American humour, I guess. Crude, gross, foul-mouthed and not at all funny. We'll keep it, as it has the biggest Stan Lee speaking part we've ever come across, but that's the only reason.
And so to today. Kai's skipped this am's lecture (will catch it online later) and is going in for two classes this pm. We've all finished watching Agents of SHIELD season 4 (and Kai and I are partway through rewatching season 2): season 5 is out tomorrow (on amazon, at least). Kai and I have our flu jabs booked for tomorrow evening at Tesco pharmacy: will see if Tesco have it. If not, I'll order from amazon. I'm staying in this pm as there's a delivery due, of a clock Kai bought for himself on ebay: going to sit with Ken's plan of the little bit of front garden we have left, my list of plants and how big they grow, and mark out a first draft of where everything should be planted for best effect.
Friday, September 21, 2018
Front garden this morning. I took the gate down at 8.30.
Front garden this afternoon.
They'll be back on Monday to continue (and take away all that rubble. That's from the concrete slabs on the top of the wall. All the actual rocks are now in two enormous piles in the back garden...)
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Rang the office on Mon: electrician arrived just after 12 and took a look - and finally explained why the first lot were muttering about a fan in the roof. The inner airbrick has been put into the wall far too high (if you look at it with the window open you can see it's well above the level of the wall) and opens into the loft! It's nowhere near the outer airbrick, which means there's never been any ventilation in the bathroom other than the windows... [sigh] Heath Robinson pipes, cables everywhere and not a right angle anywhere in the house - at least it's eccentric!
So there will have to be a hole drilled through the wall below the inner airbrick to fit the extractor. Now waiting to hear when that can be done. In the meantime will need to skim the inner airbrick then stick a wallpaper patch over it ready for repainting. It looks horrible as it is.
Mon pm another building co. arrived to give us a quote for the drive - Fixit Landscaping and Driveway Contractors, found through Bark.com, a fairly new but efficient service. I was quite impressed with the Fixit crew, and the quote was very reasonable (not the cheapest but less than I was expecting), plus they're authorised to get the licence to drop the kerb, which a couple of the others weren't, so that saves work and hassle for me. I rang them on Tues to say we're happy with the quote: they rang back today to say they can start tomorrow! So we should have Derpy safely off the road by the end of next week (hopefully earlier, depends how fast they work, but they didn't think it would take long...)
Tues am I put the first coat of paint on the hall radiator. Have picked up white satin radiator paint, which covers well and dries quickly, and since it's specifically for radiators it shouldn't flake off. Needs a second coat though. Will do that tomorrow. In the pm Kim picked me up to go swimming, which was great, then on Wed she came 'round again and we went to Almondsbury Garden Centre. They were having their usual end of season sale: Kim picked up a little bottle-brush tree, while I've bought 6 evergreen small shrubs to fill in the garden on the side of the front garden. Will need to get those in as soon as the drive is finished and we've got rid of everything that's there now.
So to today. I have some stuff to do in town, then Kai and I will take off the gate ready for the builders tomorrow.
It's all go!
Monday, September 17, 2018
And the electricians never arrived... I tried ringing the office but there was no answer...
Over the weekend K&K went out for the day but I can't remember now where they went!
Last Monday the decorator rang, to arrange a time to come and repaint the bathroom. Had to tell him the work wasn't finished. He said he'd ring the office and get back to me. Which of course didn't happen. So I rang, explained what had happened, was told someone would get back to me to clarify. Which also never happened. [headdesk]
In the afternoon, after the Waitrose delivery, A&T Tarmac (recommended by Tom the Plumber) arrived to take a look at what was needed for the drive. All sounded very efficient: he said he'd send us a quote for Fri. Which never arrived. If it doesn't come with the post today I shall ring him.
Tuesday was the usual Tesco delivery then swimming. Except that the pool was closed 'due to unforeseen circumstances' (which apparently was that the boiler was so severely on the blink again that they had to turn it off). Walked back home in a huff. [headdeskheaddesk]
Rang the pool Wed am to see if they were open, which they were. Kim was on holiday in Majorca, so went by myself and did the 36 lengths. Tiring walk home. In the evening we carried on watching Agents of SHIELD season 3, which is hugely enjoyable. As I said to Ken, this phenomenon is what Starhunter should have been... We're ripping through the eps at a rate of 3 or 4 an evening!
Thurs Kai and I went on a wee trip - bus to Wells, then the country bus to Weston-super-Mare. It's a glorious ride, through Cheddar, Axbridge and Winscombe (not as pretty as the other two but some interesting shops). At Weston we checked out antique and charity shops, enjoyed a little sea air, then got the bus back to Briz. LOOOONG day: left the house at 10 am and didn't get back until gone 6, but it was a fun one. Next time we'll get off at the villages and do a little shopping (needs to be planned as only one bus an hour, which will make it an even longer day).
Fri I was knackered, so only did a little shopping and rested. Sat K&K walked to Keynsham while I did a little housework and watched the first three eps of the BBC The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, which is great fun if crude-looking compared to today's cg and sfx. Yesterday was a little shopping, then sitting with DVDs for the rest of the day - very relaxing.
Watching: along with SHIELD we've recently seen Apollo 13, an oldie but goodie we've never been able to see all the way through before. Now thinking about getting The Right Stuff: I've seen it, but K&K haven't.
So to today. Still no call from the office re: extractor, so rang them: someone will be with us between 12 and 1 to take a look. Also post has now been and no drive quote from A&T, so have rung and left a message on their answerphone. We have another drive co. coming between 1 and 2 to take a look and give us another quote. So an averagely busy Monday then...