Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...

Other sites:

:: 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.

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.











I'm a Member of 

UK Veg Gardeners!


My IMDb ep summaries

(completed)
Arthur of the Britons
Sky
Star Maidens
The Starlost
Space Rangers
The Sentinel (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Swamp Thing (part: season 3)
Gravedale High
Transformers: Armada
Transformers: Energon
Transformers: Cybertron (part)
Misfits of Science (four eps)
Zoo Gang
Zodiac
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Starhyke
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
Nightwalker
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Rayearth
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)

For later:

Earthian
Dragonball Z (season 2, part)
(Someone else beat me to it!)
Robotech (s2 ep14 Triumvirate)
BBC Lion, witch and wardrobe
BBC Caspian and Dawn Treader
BBC Silver Chair
Beauty and the Beast (part)
(Missing Excel Saga eps)
(Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)


Silver birch at Eastwood 

Farm

"Autumnal - nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day... Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it... Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses... deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth - reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere..."

(Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Act 2: Tom Stoppard)

Autumn...

I love this time of year. I love the colours, the sharp slant of sunlight on the trees, mosaics of acid-yellow and harts- blood, velvet and darkness and a haze of mist-grey over the hills. I love its immanence, its mellowness, the tang of frost just around the corner of the year...

Watching the little birds in the goat-willow in my garden, I realised something more.

I love this land with a fierce, possessive love, deep-rooted in two thousand years of history. From the frosted beaches and cloud-brushing peaks of the north to the wind-haunted meanderings of the rivers of the east, from the sensuous rolling patchworked hills of the south to the demanding dark moors of the west, this land seeps into bone and blood and synapse, mother of motley nobility, culture, individual freedoms. It can be known. It can be understood. It can be felt deep inside.

I love its effortless eccentricities, its vigour and vibrancy, its flawed perfections, its silent strength and tenacious resilience, its hard-won tolerances and intense and variable beauty, the profound energy in its sacred mythical landscape.

Home and more-than-home, the forces that shape and protect and bind, in me, as I am in the land. Love returning love in the stillness for those who'll only take the time to listen...

(Joules, Autumn 2004)


All photographs taken by Joules unless otherwise specified. All photographs © Joules A Taylor or other specified individual.


In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme


Currently enjoying:
Muse
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.



Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

Currently miffed at:
Nestlé, Nonpres Tinyhands Fart, Toadface Farage

Currently maintaining:
BCHS
BCP


Blog Pics
I've gathered some of my pages of photos together: the page of links is here. I'll be adding more as time goes by!




Evil Squid
A Little Glossary of Taylorspeke
(in no particular order)

plit popints - n. Typo for 'plot points' typed on a keyboard with more than half the characters worn off...

[PING] (alt [ping]) - n. A brainwave. The text equivalent of a lightbulb going on blindingly over someone's head. Usually mine. And usually at the most inconvenient of times. [sigh]

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

wulmet - n. A person of little or no talent who somehow inveigles himself into a position where he is in power over other, far more talented people and uses his position to downplay them in order to try to make himself feel superior.

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

Flatterfed - vb. 27.02.08: my typo for flattered, but since it's so cutely apt I thought it would fit nicely here. Lutra defined it as "the lovely warm feeling of satisfaction resulting from enthusiastic reviews..." (which I've been getting for my MB fics).

Composted - vb, 'compos mentis', mentally capable of working. Contrast with uncomposted or non- composted, not 'compos mentis', not capable of working, hungover...

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

Kewp - how Ken says 'thank you'. We rather like Lutra's 'nanx', too...

Musekick - noun, music, without which I cannot work.

'feinne - noun, caffeine, essential for correct mental functioning, especially first thing in the morning. I prefer mine in the form of SodaStream Diet Coke. And on that subject...

Skoosh - verb, noun. To skoosh - to add CO2 to a sodastream bottle filled with water to make it fizzy, prior to adding Diet Coke syrup (or just drinking as sparkling water). A skoosh - a bottle of water that has been skooshed. Skooshy - something that has been skooshed, water, or that whipped cream that comes in tins you have to shake then upend and press the nozzle...

Shoogle - verb. To shake gently, for example, of roast potatoes in a roasting tin to ensure they're covered with oil. I have vague memories of this being a real Scottish colloquialism...

Stegasaurus - n, spider of the genus tegenaria. Why? No idea. I just find it easier, that's all...
Edit 08.09.07: Lutra thinks that Brian is a good name for a mini-stegasaurus. From now on, any 'Brian's in the posts may be assumed to be a tegenaria. Except where otherwise specified.

Viterals - noun, vitamins + minerals. Also a pun on victuals.

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

Parrots - noun, paracetemol (from the old joke "Why are there no aspirin tablets in the jungle? Because the parrots eat 'em all...")

Maggles - noun, magpies. As opposed to non-magical people.

Flamewings - noun. Swifts. So called because the first time we became aware of them was an early summer evening when they were flying high, the light from the setting sun seemingly turning their wings to flames. Lovely little birds. We always know summer's arrived when we hear their high-pitched squeeing.

Murfs - noun, moths.

Peasant cut - noun, roughly cut up into big chunks, e.g. vegetables chopped in a hurry for a hearty stew or soup. By extension, anything prepared in a hurry - haircut, material, even a first draft of a story...

Giraffe - noun, a carafe (of wine, coffee or water, for example).

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

Splings - noun, Kai's spelling homework: by extension, any spelling.

Tyops - noun, typos. var toyps, typso, psyto, psoyt, etc. Usual result of a dose of the fingerials (see next entry).

Fingerials - (pr. fin GEEE ree yalls) noun, fingers that will not type what you want them to.

Haddock - noun, time, of which I never have enough. (Origin of this term here.)

Sleep - noun? vb? a.k.a. sheeeeeeeeep.... I used to know what this word meant...


The Updates Blog

The place to stay notified of WaveWrights' Fiction updates: Zone, Darkside, DarkRealm, Matrix, Vault, Safehouse 13...




my computer gremlin Butch. click the pic to see the larger image

Butch, my computer gremlin. Click the pic for larger version, and read his adventures here...

Butch by the talented 

Sylverthorne

A gift for me! Butch by the very talented Sylverthorne. Click pic for larger image.

Joules' 

Haddock

This is MY haddock. It was caught exclusively for me by Talon. No, you can't have any. I need all the haddock I can get!!



A'lestrel by 

Valkyrie.

A'lestrel - a gift for me from Valkyrie...



Kood, my new mp3 

player.

Soundwave! (Kood's still moving in...)


Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 

2004

Another gorgeous Valkyrie gift for me - Benten the Albino Alsatian! Click thumbnail for larger image.

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 

by 

Onna

Oekai by Bakayaro Onna - Radittsu at his sexiest...



I now have an Amazon wish list - find it here. But please be warned most of the things on it are yaoi. If you don't like yaoi, or don't know what it is, you probably won't want to take a look.




The Zone Plant from
The Zone 

blog 

plant

OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Pruned [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
:: Fundies say the darnedest things [>]
(Warning. This site is likely to have you screaming with laughter, shaking your head in sheer disbelief, or weeping for the future of your species. Often all three at the same time. I disclaim any responsiblity for any harm suffered by anyone who visits...)
[::..Fun Places..::]
::HubbleSite
Stunning...
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
::The Hacker Dictionary
Hackers with Humour!
:: Carol's Place
My GoodTwin's Homepage!
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: MailWasher
Excellent anti-spam software
:: About Bristol
The essential guide - and beautifully user-friendly too!
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: ZSPC Colour Chart
Check how your text and background colours look together before releasing them on the world!
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...
:: Union of Concerned Scientists
Exactly what it says. Fascinating - and worrying...

So what is it with the haddock? Am I some kind of fish freak?

I'll leave that to others to decide.

The tale (or tail if you prefer) harks back to October 2000, when my GoodTwin and I, ably assisted by Sue, ran the first UK Professionals convention...
It's common knowledge that I never have enough time, and I was determined not to bewail the fact that weekend: hence I promised not to use the 'T' word...
Of course, that didn't really work (if nothing else I had to let the trainees know what times things were supposed to be happening!) so we decided a substitute word would be employed instead. There were several suggestions. Banana came very close to being chosen. However, I eventually decided that 'haddock' fitted the bill nicely. Ever since, haddock=time. Hence the title of my forthcoming autobiography,
My Half-Life in the Haddock Space Continuum....


Normally I wouldn't, but these were just irresistible...

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

These Too-Kawaii Kitties
were adopted from
Ghost's Anime Page (which appears to have disappeared, alas...)

[::..Anime/Manga..::]
Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

Anime still needed to complete series' I'm collecting... Many thanks to everyone who has helped me acquire the collection!
Ai no Kusabi

Owned:
   DVD
   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

Owned:
   DVD
   All 3 eps on Video, dubbed
   Dj: Cyberage 1-3
   Illustrated Book 2 (Benten's) in Japanese

From Eroica with Love

Owned:
   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

Owned:
   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

Owned:
   English Manga: Vol 1
   Japanese Manga: Vol 1-7 complete
   Tarot Pack
   R.G.Veda video

Twelve Kingdoms

Owned:
   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

Owned:
   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust

Owned:
   DVD

   Vampire Hunter D Book 1



New Vampire Miyu

Owned:
   (Studio Ironcat) Manga Vols 1 -5 (complete)


Yami no Matsuei

Owned:
   Viz Manga: English translation, Vols 1 - 11 (complete: I believe vol 12 is only available online)
   Japanese 3-DVD set
   Central Park Media: Descendants of Darkness Vol. 1, English/Japanese subbed.
   Sketchbook


[::..Joules SPfied..::]


... this is Terra? How the hell'd I end up here...?

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

[::..archive..::]
07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
01/06/2008 - 30/06/2008
01/07/2008 - 31/07/2008
01/08/2008 - 31/08/2008
01/09/2008 - 30/09/2008
01/10/2008 - 31/10/2008
01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
01/04/2009 - 30/04/2009
01/05/2009 - 31/05/2009
01/06/2009 - 30/06/2009
01/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
01/08/2009 - 31/08/2009
01/09/2009 - 30/09/2009
01/10/2009 - 31/10/2009
01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
01/12/2009 - 31/12/2009
01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
01/04/2010 - 30/04/2010
01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
01/04/2011 - 30/04/2011
01/05/2011 - 31/05/2011
01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
01/07/2011 - 31/07/2011
01/08/2011 - 31/08/2011
01/09/2011 - 30/09/2011
01/10/2011 - 31/10/2011
01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
01/02/2012 - 28/02/2012
01/03/2012 - 31/03/2012
01/04/2012 - 30/04/2012
01/05/2012 - 31/05/2012
01/06/2012 - 30/06/2012
01/07/2012 - 31/07/2012
01/08/2012 - 31/08/2012
01/09/2012 - 30/09/2012
01/10/2012 - 31/10/2012
01/11/2012 - 30/11/2012
01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
01/03/2013 - 31/03/2013
01/04/2013 - 30/04/2013
01/05/2013 - 31/05/2013
01/06/2013 - 31/06/2013
01/07/2013 - 31/07/2013
01/08/2013 - 31/08/2013
01/09/2013 - 30/09/2013
01/10/2013 - 31/10/2013
01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
01/09/2015 - 30/09/2015
01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
01/06/2016 - 30/06/2016
01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
01/09/2016 - 31/09/2016
01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017
01/03/2017 - 31/03/2017
01/04/2017 - 30/03/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/04/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017

Monday, September 30, 2002

Very very pissed off. Just discovered Homestead have disabled Lady Tempest's yaoi archive.

What is the matter with these people? I'd like to think it's because they're concerned about the copyright angle, but to think that way I'd need to be feeling particularly generous, and quite frankly I really don't feel generous right now. With a power-mad would-be dictator on one side, blindly religious dogmatism on the other, and a hopelessly blinkered and ineffectual so-called 'ruler' at home, would you feel generous? (If so you're a more tolerant being than me.)

Personally I think it's homophobia. We've already seen FanFiction.net take the decision to remove all yaoi/adult content from their site. Actually finding a provider who doesn't object to such content is becoming more difficult, even in the UK, where we really do hold on to the concept of free speech as a hard-won privilege.

[shakes head...] With so many dreadful sites around, to disable something so beautiful, with such well-written stories, is a crime.

Not that I'd expect the kow-towing drudges to see it that way.





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Sunday, September 29, 2002

[blinks bemusedly] Heh, I finally got the blogger archiving procedure sussed.

Folks off home earlier. House back to what passes for normal. And I have a sore throat, stinging sinuses and I'm aching all over - first virus of the winter, no doubt. Still, it's arrived very quickly, with luck it'll go the same way, and in the meantime it'll be good for some angst: I still have to get R back home. And of course he's very badly injured...

In the meantime an early night might be in order. Once my mane has dried, that is. (Not such an early night, then...)





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[singing quietly under her breath... "I've gotta tablet, keep taking the taaaablets..."]

Oooh, this is sooo good! I'm already faster with the pen (as a replacement mouse) than I was with the trackball (and thanks for the info onna, but it's a USB trackball mouse and while I could buy a splitter (I have my scanner plugged into the second USB port on my stack, and after the probs I've had with that software I don't want to unplug it!), there's a possibility of conflicts. The trackball won't be wasted: Ken's wanted one since I bought it so he's now using it on his machine - which runs the much-missed-on-my-part Windows 98 - where it operates beautifully... It never worked properly with XP, and I've got used to keystrokes in the recent past.) I even tried a little picture - the granite-kit GoodTwin bought me for my birthday that sits under my monitor, in rainbow gradient fill on a grey background. As a first attempt it's... umm.... well, not too shabby for something that only took me 20 minutes.

It's definitely going to take me some time to get used to it, though. One potential problem I hadn't taken into account was that the teno makes my hands very unsteady, and drawing a smooth line, especially at the resolution I prefer, is impossible at the moment. I'll find a way to cope, of course, but for the moment I'm going to have to draw and scan as usual for anything urgent. A pain, but that's life. The fact that once I can use the thing properly I can sit here and swap back and forth between drawing and writing is a big enough incentive to get me using it post-haste!

[big happy grin...] I really thought I'd have to wait at least another year to get one. I am so chuffed....





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Saturday, September 28, 2002

I have a tablet!!

It's my Xmas present from the folks (both sets) and Ken, reduced in a sale. Not a Wacom one, they're still too expensive - and to be honest I'm not a good enough artist to be able to justify that expense. But this little Trust one is fine for me! Of course, XP gave me a headache at installation - wouldn't actually finish installing - but everything seems to be working OK... Going to take me a wee while to get used to it though - I've been using a Logitech trackball mouse for the last year.

I also found all my PhotoShop hints, tips and instructions. Now I just need to practise!





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I should be in bed. My folks are visiting for the weekend: they've brought up Kai's Yule present (the bike he's been asking for for the last four months), and tomorrow we're supposed to be going to Bedminster, shopping [read, scouring the second hand and antique shops]. It'll be fun, I know, and I haven't managed to get over there for absolutely ages...

But right now I feel... flat? hopeless?

We were talking, earlier, about death and funerals - and, at our instigation, wills. Mum insists they don't have anything of any importance to leave to anyone - and in any case, I know what she wants to go to whom...

Yeah, sure.

I know the results of dying intestate. I know her youngest son (I won't call him brother: he removed himself from the family decades ago and I quite frankly loathe him. That's a long story too....) will be in like a shot once he's heard the news, disputing everything. All those precious, precious photos (the only things I want) will be chucked out as being of no value to anyone. Everything else will be sold: my grandmother's jewellery, my father's marksmanship trophies, their ballroom dancing medals... everything. Lifetimes' worth of memories, precious mementoes, the irreplaceable things that create continuity, history...

I'm supposed to sort everything out for them. From ensuring that my elder (Downes Syndrome) brother gets the necessary care (mum says she's 'arranged' things but won't tell me what) to giving my parents the funerals they want, apparently it's all down to me.

They haven't made wills.

There are times I wonder if this is my mother's revenge for me not being the sweet, cute, obedient, compliant daughter she wanted me to be.





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Thursday, September 26, 2002

Descent into Nectar-dom A Tale of Woe...

Sainsbury's (and yes, that is the correct spelling, Lord Sainsbury wishes it to be known that this supermarket chain is his supermarket chain) is a very slight diversion on the way to and from Kai's school (all of a couple of hundred yards) and has a good selection of organically produced foods, so we tend to shop there at least once a day, even if just for milk. We've had a reward card for years, and find it very useful.

Now Sainsbury's are scrapping their reward card in favour of the Nectar card, which you can use in other outlets (none of which are of any use to us), and to keep your reward points going you have to register for a Nectar card. Last Friday [just checked - it was last Wednesday. Sorry Carol, it was my fault!!] I decided to do so, online. You get 100 points free for registering online...

Never again. I couldn't access the site in IE, only in Netscape (which hiccoughs occasionally when used with XP, at least on my machine). I had to disable my popup stopper, as most of the registration form used javascript popups - and took at least two attempts to load. When it came to offers from their sponsors, it was all or nothing (I opted for nothing. It may mean we'll miss some English Heritage offers but rather that than be bombarded by spam...) And the registration confirmation page WOULD NOT load...

It took me an hour and a half to limp through the process, trying to get mine and Ken's cards linked together so points will all go into the same account. I ended up not knowing whether I was registered, whether the old reward card points had been transferred, or what. I emailed them right afterwards, complaining about the problems, objecting to being forced to register in the first place, and suggesting they'd have had more success if they'd allocated sufficient bandwidth to cope with the huge demand that anyone with any sense would have anticipated. (I got a standard reply, bland, noncommittal and unhelpful, very much like the ones I used to have to write when handling Oftel cases for BT...)

Now we find that a) 880 points have gone missing and b) no-one is being offered their reward vouchers at the till. At the moment we have 1,104 points (1,984 if you add those missing points) in our account which we can't use until they get their act together (hopefully in time for Yule though I won't hold my breath). You can probably tell I'm not impressed.

Interestingly, as I was standing at Customer Service in Sainsbury's, trying to get some sense out of the Nectar helpline, a member of staff stood beside me, looking at the receipts I'd taken in, and asked if I'd lost any points. When I said yes, she nodded - so had she, 500 overnight. And she agreed with me that the tills weren't recognising Nectar points...

Apparently they've been planning the launch of the Nectar card for two years. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to get it right.





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Tuesday, September 24, 2002

[shakes head in disbelief....] Yes, I managed to find a Spiderman football... It's amazing what you can find at Woolworths. More to the point Thomas really liked it. I also found a nice chrysoprase. And worked out the major part of the Budoushu campaign for the next AC chapter (will try and get that started tonight). Been a pretty good day, all told.

Judo, however, didn't happen - apparently the teacher got his wires crossed and didn't turn up. Hn... Still, I've no doubt Kai's enjoying himself at Thomas'!

Onna, I'd love to do the pagan version of the Christmas/Chanukah funny - only I don't know how quickly I could get it done...





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It occurs to me I could save an awful lot of time if I could just bring myself to use software to calculate Natal Charts, instead of doing it the good old-fashioned way, using hand and brain and more than half a lifetime's experience. But then I'd feel I was cheating my client....

This means that GoodTwin's mum-in-laws' Natal Chart is now finished. I should be able to get it comb-bound tomorrow evening and in the post Wednesday morning. Going to see if I can pick up a chrysoprase to go with it tomorrow: Kai's been invited to Thomas across the road's 9th birthday tea tomorrow evening - after his first judo class! - which necessitates a trip into town to see what I can find in the way of a present. What's he into? Superheroes, says his dad. Football, says Kai. Wonder if I can find him a Spiderman football...

Time for a glass of wine, I think.





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Monday, September 23, 2002

Apparently we had an earthquake last night. 4.8 on the Richter scale. While I was working at my desk on the ground floor.

I never noticed.

Do you think I should perhaps spend a little more time on this planet?





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Disquiet coded and uploaded in The Zone - at any rate, I think it is. I can't check because, it being the weekend, the BusinessServe server has of course gone down. (Intermittent fault I guess. I couldn't access the site earlier, then I could, now I can't again...) Better wait until they fix it, tomorrow, before I send the Update.

I also managed to finish my latest review for Crowsnest (The Iron Grail, book 2 of The Merlin Codex) two days early, which is pretty good for me. Hoping to polish the horoscope tomorrow so I can get that in the post early this week.
Then I want to do the next Worlds Apart strip!

Will see how it goes....





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Saturday, September 21, 2002

[sigh...] Lounge now full of bits of computer intestines...

Tried the Cats True Identity Quiz... Well, Raptor came out as Aubrey Hepburn, which is quite apt, but I really can't see Argent as Mickey Mouse - and Ryme would be positively insulted if I told her she came out as Jabba the Hutt!!

Wonder if there's a Dog version?





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Scanner uninstalled/reinstalled and now working.

It's been that kind of day, though. Couldn't even manage a Tesco shopping trip without their fire alarm going off (wasn't me, honest...) And Kai now has two new (ancient) computers to take to pieces, courtesy of a LETs intertrade. Where are we going to put everything, I ask...

Off to work on Disquiet...





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Friday, September 20, 2002

And now the system doesn't recognise my scanner....

It's not often I feel inclined to curse someone, but Bill Gates is a definite candidate.





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...bloody unbelievable....

So I got notification there were some new XP critical updates available, so I went to check. And there in red is Service Pack 1 - separate installation. So I thought - I suppose I'd better.... A 30 meg download, but with broadband that shouldn't take too long...

Heh. Clicked on it, started the download - and it appeared to freeze. So I clicked [help] - and was taken to a MS page that said:

Exit all Windows applications before downloading (I do anyway).
Disable virus checker (you what!?) as it may cause problems with the download. (So I did).
Ensure you have a full backup of your entire system before installing... Well, OK, my last one was August but anything after that is on the site anyway, so I forwarded a copy of Disquiet - the next AC chapter I'm working on - to myself at my back up email addy (too lazy to find a floppy, terrible ne?)
In case of problems with installation... and then it went into something complicated I've never heard of...

Urk... Luckily I had no problems - other than that it took nearly two bloody hours to download and install, and for all of that time I had no ICQ, email, or access to my chapter... And it now takes about five minutes for my computer to boot up (though I guess that might shorten after a couple of times...)

I hate Micro$oft. I hate sitting here, my heart in my mouth praying to the computer goddess not to let my machine crash, not to have BlueYonder go down, not to have any conflicts with the bizarre collection of (somewhat old) software I have loaded...

Still, Tokyo Revelation is screening on the Sci-Fi Channel tonight. I've never seen it and am quite enjoying it. I'd love to know who's the English VA for Akito - what a cutie....

Talon - I don't see why not. I seem to be (astral) mum to several other people I've never met... >;-P

Oh - in Martian Successor Nadesico tonight... (sorry - don't know the names of the charas: the anime is mecha and I'm not that fond of mecha so only pay attention with half an ear) The captain made a comment about the youngest member of the team being an anime fanboy, and that he himself preferred to live in the real world! - then at the end one of the female charas says something along the lines of - that gives me an idea for my next comic. Muttered comment from her friend - it's not going to be another of those guy/guy ones, is it?

Well, it made me chuckle!





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Thursday, September 19, 2002

.... It's just as well I'm almost impossible to embarrass...

Took Quyn with me to collect Kai, yesterday and again today (walking back through the park so they can both run off some energy). Bratling comes out of the school gates, we get maybe six yards down the road, he frowns up at me and says, "Mum, what happens when you have sex?"

Now, we've always encouraged him to ask questions, and we've always tried to answer him then and there - and today was no different. But Kai doesn't just want to know the 'what' of things: he wants to know the 'how' and 'why' and 'where' as well...

So - to the bemusement of the other parents collecting their sprogs - I started the impromptu sex education lesson. (A little further down, the road was, thankfully, empty of pedestrians...)

Actually he knew the mechanics already, from things we've explained in the past and from talking to other boys in the playground (for gods' sakes, he's 7! It's his second week of Junior School! Is it me or are they maturing earlier these days?), so instead of the usual 'penis in vagina' chat we discussed what happened when you had an orgasm (boys and girls), that it's perfectly OK to masturbate, what a clitoris is, what an erection is...

It got quite interesting at one point. After explaining (when he asked) that moving in and out in straightforward sex is exciting and arousing and that's what leads to orgasm (for the man, anyway), he asked,

"But boys can't do that, can they?"

Me: "Well, yes, actually they can."

Kai, frowning: "How?"

Brief explanation of male/male sex later, Kai, thoughtfully: "Oh." [brief silence] "But girls can't, can they?"

Me: "Yes, they can."

Kai: "How? They haven't got penises."

Me (keeping it to basic bodily parts for now - we'll deal with toys and more complex practices at a later date!): "They use their fingers."

Well, this was all accepted, and we spent the last five minutes of the walk home discussing slang names for the sex organs (can't have my bratling mocked in the playground for not knowing, now, can I?)

Y'now, I just knew I'd be the one to handle this - I can almost *hear* Ken's sigh of relief. And I've finally been able to explain properly what we mean when we tell Kai that if anybody tries to do anything to him he doesn't want, he can do anything to get away - kick, scream, hit, bite... (And that doesn't exclude us or the medical fraternity, except in emergencies or with his agreement.)

Heh. I can't fault his curiosity, but his timing stinks...





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Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Lutra's checked the quiz for me and everything seems to be working. I'm about to upload the tenth portrait result - and therein lies a problem. I'm missing two portraits, and I can't crib from what I've already drawn. I'll have to draw new portraits - which means I can't open the quiz tonight, dammit.

Ah well, they do say patience is a virtue. (Then again, when was I ever virtuous...?)

Sorry Talon...





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Monday, September 16, 2002

Heh... OK, that's the quiz coded and uploaded (and no you can't have the URL yet, I haven't completed the results pages!) ready for checking: the two I tried seemed to work just fine...

Off to work on the results....





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I've finished the AC quiz! I was going to draw new pictures for the results, but I don't think I can spare the time: I'll use ones I've already done. I can always create new ones later.

Will start coding after dinner - you never know, I might be able to get the whole thing uploaded tonight...





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Sunday, September 15, 2002

Well, that's the medlar planted, with snowdrops underneath, and the big willow logs moved over to the wall. I've also planted out my hibiscus, sheltered by the bay tree: it may not survive, but it's too big for me to keep in the house anymore, so it would have to go anyway. Will keep an eye on it and fingers crossed...
Thanks to Talon! She sent me the URL for the quiz javascript (find it here), and Lutra and I have now started devising the Alliance Chronicles personality quiz questions. (So far I have a short list of TWELVE characters, which is a bit extreme, though personally, I really like the more detailed quizzes... Need to discuss it with Lutra when she wakes up.) Any delay will be with my drawing the little portraits to go with the results, but at least I just need to do the faces.

Onna, thanks for the suggestions re: the booklet. I'm not quite sure how we want to handle it - again, something I need to discuss with Lutra. However, it will have to wait for a while: I'm falling too far behind with everything else and the quiz will have to be the last new project for a few weeks. (Glad you like the background. It's the tile I made for the Darkside part of WordWrights site, nothing special but I like textured backgrounds.)

About time I started the next AC chapter...





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Saturday, September 14, 2002

BBQs are nice, but I do hate the amount of clearing up they leave...

Casualty is on TV at the moment. We know that Kai's school (well, the road outside it, anyway) is in one episode - we saw them filming one morning last term when I took him to school - and the school newsletter said it was the first ep of the new series. It wasn't. Nice shots of Ashton Court funfair though.

Hn. Wonder if Lutra would like a BBQ?





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....tired.....

Mind you, I was still up at 6.30 this morning (saying goodbye to the willow if you must know...): Ken let me sleep till 11, so I missed the chopping-down (for which I am most heartily grateful). The garden doesn't look right - it's too bare.

We'll plant the medlar when Ken and Kai get back from the Bristol 'Open Door' day (free entry to all sorts of Bristol places - like the Redcliffe Caves - that are normally closed to the public). And have a BBQ; the weather's gorgeous today.

Going to try to get that pic of Kitty done tomorrow...

And are we looking at two booklets - one to keep your Saiyan pet happy, the other for your pet Saiyan? (Ain't semantics wonderful?)





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[blinks....] Uh... [blinks some more....]

OK... Thank you for the suggestions!

Obviously my use of the word pet has caused some confusion...

Actually we were thinking more along the lines of which positions your pet Saiyan would prefer in bed, or when taking you flying, or on the beach; what sort of... um... tasty spreadables you should keep in the fridge, for those late night... nibbling sessions; how hot to have that bubbling, herby-scented bathwater; how hard you should nip and where.....

Hn. This is a public blog. Better stop there.....





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Friday, September 13, 2002

OK - if I can find (read; steal) the coding for a quiz we'll get one organised. Oh, that reminds me, Lutra - we never did get that 'How to Keep your Pet Saiyan Happy' booklet written, did we...?





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[... glower...] majorly squicked she says....

Kitty gave me nightmares, and I haven't read anything that did that since I was 8 years old.

But I retaliated.... No, I'll rephrase that. I wrote a sequel, a sort of interlude. Very cathartic it was. Though I could have done better. Uh, nastier. Lutra thinks what I've written fits well with her continuum, though, so for now I'll leave it as is.

[snarls] For now.....

It's going to take me a little while to get everything organised (I really need to make the new section - Darkside - password protected - though Zone members will have access through their existing ID/Password) but I'm hoping to have the new section up by Monday (my time).

And thanks, Lutra, for... umm... everything....

...an AC character quiz...? Now that would be interesting....





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Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Kai's first swimming lesson today. Yes, I know I've been remiss - I was going to take him every week all through the summer holidays so he could swim before he started Junior School but... somehow... it just... didn't happen. We always seemed to be too busy doing something else...

Still, after the tears of 3 am Monday night (he was so apprehensive about it he'd arranged all his tropical shells in rows on the floor, facing the door, to keep the worry away, bless him!) we agreed he'd give it two goes, and if he still wasn't enjoying it I promised I'd do something about it - probably volunteer to go help out at the pool, they're always looking for helpers, and I love swimming anyway (what a surprise!)

[evil grin at Lutra] You don't like birds? I love birds - after all, we come from the same ancestors (sort of...). Heh - something else to torture you with...

We bought our medlar yesterday, but from a local supplier. They had three to choose from, so we've picked the tallest and straightest - need something for all the birds that usually use the willow as a staging post, eating insects from the cracks in the bark, high enough up that the cats can't reach them. It's a lovely sight: we regularly have bluetits and long-tailed tits, chaffinch, bullfinch and greenfinch, and small flocks (12 or so) of goldfinches on the teasels we grow for them. The medlar's sturdy enough to hang out our feeders and fat balls over the winter, too, although I think we'll leave the goat willow as an additional perch for them until they've adapted to the new tree.

Lady Willow in happier times (summer 1998)
Summer 1998

The medlar's being delivered on Friday: Dave next door is getting together a bunch of his friends to come and take down the willow, hopefully Saturday. (We gave up on the mulberry after finding out it has a spread of 20 feet, which is really too big for the garden.) Kai wants to watch, so he and I will probably clear out the pond while the work's being done - that way he can indulge his curiosity without getting too close to chainsaws, falling branches etc. And the pond badly needs doing - it's only tiny, and is clogged with soil washed down from the rockery: our newts and frogs can hardly use it any more, which defeats the object of having it in the first place!

Then we'll probably have a bonfire. I don't like having them - they're hardly environmentally-friendly - but there'll be an awful lot of wood to get rid of, and Ken wasn't too keen on my idea of using it to build Kai a rough little 'cabin' under the elder. Which is fair enough - neither of us are carpenters, and we really don't have the time! Still, willow-wood smells sweet when it burns, and since I have to prune back my rosemary bushes too, at least the bonfire will be a fragrant one.

Time to code/upload Lure...





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Tuesday, September 10, 2002

shhhh..... You have to keep this a secret....

Walking bratling home from school (in the rain. It rained all day. Again.) he confided to me his scheme for making us enough money to be able to afford a car. But it has to be kept a secret because it's very illegal and the government would be very unhappy if they knew...

We have to build a number of small wind turbines in the garden - not so big that they'll attract attention, mind - and use them to run a printing press, printing money!

And Lutra thinks Undie Man is a problem...

Lure first draft now finished and off to Valkyrie.

[...sigh...] Cuddles are nice. We (I) need more of them.





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Monday, September 09, 2002

There's something terribly civilised about sitting with a pot of jasmine tea hunting the internet for trees to replace our willows (yes, plural: we've decided the goat willow has to go too - it grows to 50')... Found a good site - Ornamental Tree Nurseries - which has an excellent selection at very reasonable prices: we've decided to go for a mulberry and a medlar. Not actually native, alas - they were both brought over by the Romans - but naturalised for long enough that we can just get away with it. They're also good food plants for birds and insects (and us if we feel so inclined), and unlike purely native trees they don't grow too tall (around 20').

It'll be a few years before they're big enough to sit under, though...





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Sunday, September 08, 2002

It's been a food related day...

It started with Kai watching Dexter's Laboratory - the episode where his French language sleep-learning tape gets stuck and all he can say next day is 'omlette du fromage'. Bratling wanted to taste one - which meant a trip to Sainsbug's for me since we were out of cheese and Ken's still recovering from the biopsy (the doctor he had missed the first time and had to make a second hole. And you wonder why I hate hospitals....) and can't do too much. So Ken supervised (I make horrible omlettes) while Kai made himself a plain omlette first (loved it) then made a second cheese one (which he also loved). Bratling can now make porridge and omlettes - not bad for 7!

Then I got a call from a market research company asking about our chocolate habits... (heh - that sounds baaad!) The survey didn't take long (and I quite enjoy them, though I don't know how much they influence the manufacturers...) Anyway, the researcher was a young French woman, and (after a bit of a ramble during which we compared the prices of English and French organic food and I pointed out we never buy any Nestle-Rowntree products and recommended Ethical Consumer which we've been buying for years now) I volunteered to keep a record of our chocolate buying (when, where, why) until Yule, when we'll get some money-off vouchers!

And now I'm waiting for the Jalfrezi to cook (that and Dhansak are my favourite curries)... Smells wonderful. But won't be ready for a while - and I'm hungry...

Lutra's in bed - hopefully having fun, I loaned her Hijau for the night...

I bought a dragoness from a big man with a big bushy beard, down the pub...

Lutra called me an 'h/c slut' earlier, just for saying Elijah Wood had gorgeous eyes, just made for suffering... (The Faculty is on TV tonight, you see...) (And OK, so I take that as a compliment really, but I need some excuse...).

I'm off to visit the Pond....





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The one thing I don't like about autumn is the number of spiders that decide the house is a cosy haven in which to ride out the cold season... I'm no longer afraid of spiders (no way was I passing on that irrational fear to Kai: forced myself through my own version of aversion therapy...) but I still don't like them very much. And while having a jungle for a garden is wonderful, it does seem to encourage rather large arachnids...

Did a little more tidying up of sites: the Operation Susie (our Professionals convention) report is now on the archive site, freeing up a little more space. And when I can actually log onto the site (traditional Saturday night/Sunday morning glitches here) I'll move the Lexx soundbytes over too: easy enough to link to them and I can claw back about 7 megabytes by doing so.

(How the hell did I get so prolific?)

While wandering around the Lexx part of the site I took a look at my picture of Kai (no, not my son: Kai the dead Divine Assassin in the show. And no, my Kai wasn't named after him. He was born before Lexx ever made it to our TV screens - and the only reason I started watching the series was because of the name....) Sorry about the mini-rant, but I've had so many people nod pseudo-wisely and state - "ah, a Lexx fan...". No need to say how much it pisses me off, not least because just why the fuck would I want to call my son after a dead-but-still-active assassin....? Where was I? Oh, yes, my pic of Kai the Divine Assassin. My first ever male nude (full frontal) done realistically, from my imagination. And y'know, it's OK. Not wonderful, but not too bad. A pencil sketch, not coloured and very rough, but... I kind of like it. Anyone reading this wants to see, it's here.

Couldn't settle tonight, so turned to another unfinished project: my follow up to Strange Attractor for Valkyrie. Lure will be another of those purely lemony PWP's I write when I need a break.... Inspired by an old pic she sent me, this one will star Helena, Sengoku, and Benten (of course). Couple of pages written in between doing other things, looking OK so far! With a little application I'll have it finished for her birthday.

And I finally got round to trimming my mane. Only the short bit on the top, of course, I'm still trying to see how long I can grow the long (usually plaited) bit at the back. It's now long enough to sit on. (There's an awful lot of 'long's in those two sentences....) Can I get it knee-length? Nice to dream....!





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Friday, September 06, 2002

[...phew...]

Finally finished transferring the Lexxplorations archive material to the WordWrights Archive site: freed up a few megs of memory to make room for the latest bit of silliness, Worlds Apart - the ongoing Alestrel/Lutra comic strip I mentioned a wee while back!

Am now going to try to get a little writing done....





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Hn. I should be in bed - I have to take bratling to school in 5.5 hours - but while thinking about closing down an entirely different thought struck me....

I've just noticed that while the Vejiita action figure only moves in two dimensions at the neck, waist and arms (well, the one I have does, anyway) and the Radittsu action figure's arms and waist move quite freely but his legs only move enough to allow him to bend over at an angle of maybe 45 degrees (if you force that horribly ugly groin guard bit of his uniform between his legs) - but the Jeice action figure will happily bend over at a 90 degree angle... with his forearms braced as though resting on a solid surface, like a table for example...

Interesting how the mind works when deprived of sleep!





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Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Kai's first day at Junior School, and the house is gloriously quiet...

It's been quite an amazing summer holiday: I think we've both enjoyed it. The week with Carol was wonderful - Westonbirt, Glastonbury, Wells, Farleigh Hungerford, Cheddar Gorge and Caves [I managed them quite well, I thought...] - then my four days by myself while Kai was with grandparents in Exeter (and visiting other grandparents in Babbacombe, Exmouth beach, Exeter Museum and a morning swimming at the Pyramids leisure centre) and Ken drove around Devon with archmage Tony, looking for Cobleys (of Old Uncle Tom fame - apparently I'm related).

We explored explore@bristol, visited the new Hengrove greenspace (a week before the playdome was closed due to structural damage - it wasn't me, honest...), toured the city on an open-top bus, indulged the bratling's bug obsession at the zoo, went to a Mediaeval tournament and watched Scooby-doo at the Showcase. Kai found frighteningly large numbers of things to take to pieces (though I have at least now taught him he has to put the bits away before I walk on them or they'll go in the bin), we made large inroads into whipping the garden into shape, and tidied Kai's room (hey, there's a carpet in there!).

Didn't get much drawing done - though I'm pleased (and amazed) I did finish the Family Portrait - but did manage to keep up the writing. Enjoyed some good reading too - Talon's First Heat (anyone reading this probably knows I'm a Radittsu - Zaabon addict and don't usually have the time to read any other pairings, unless I know and like the writer: this one is beautifully written), and bakayaro onna's fabulously funny first fic The Urge, Sue's Recruitment Drive and Carol's Long Shadows, (and Strange Bedfellows, of course, on the Saijin Secrets list), and Lutra's very, very disturbing story Kitty (which will be posted in The Zone when it's finished, won't it, Lutra-petal?). And I've been threatened with dragon-vengeance if I so much as look at othertwin's fish...

And I have the first basic drawings for the comic strip - I thought Worlds Apart might be an appropriate title...

Yes, it's been a satisfying six weeks. Haven't done half I wanted, but it's been a lot of fun - Kai's seen to that!

Now it's back to what passes for normal around here (except for the next few days, when I have to take bratling to school as well as pick him up: Ken has another liver biopsy scheduled for tomorrow). GoodTwin's mum-in-law's horoscope is half done, Ken's new website is almost ready to upload, and I finally have some uninterrupted time and space to sort out the Haadri site.

And autumn's here. The sun is hot, but the winds are cold, and it's cool in the shade. I like autumn. It has a certain languid melancholy I find most appealing. Must find time to take Quyn to Eastwood openspace and see how the silver poplars are doing...





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Tuesday, September 03, 2002

..........sigh......

Be nice to be able to afford a car again....





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Monday, September 02, 2002

... So there I was, knackered and not feeling too great, and at 8.45 (pm, that is) I decided to go to bed. [Don't faint!] I made the mistake of taking my drawing stuff up with me...

I now have the first seven basic 'me' drawings for the Alestrel-Lutra comic strip! So I came back down and scanned them in and now need to let Lutra see them and get some more info about how her desk is set up so I can start on her basic drawings. It's 10am in Oz and she should be here, dammit!

On a tangent: took bratling into town on Friday (we'd run out of pocky) and checked out the weekly antiques market. Found a Longshot comic - not the original, I hasten to add, no way could I afford one of those! - Fools, for 50p. It's quite fun, with one of the oddest (yet biblically most accurate as far as I remember - which isn't very far) angels I've ever seen. Six arms and dragonfly wings. Hn, perhaps it was a mutated faery instead of an angel... Interesting, anyway!
Spent today sewing name tags into Kai's school uniform. Have I mentioned I hate sewing? And shopping? And cooking? And housework? I have now. They eat into my writing time!!

Off to pace and will othertwin to get online!!!





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