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 ::

I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.

... I'd write my autobiography, but no-one would believe it....

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.

Adventures in Orchids

Apparently I am now collecting them...

There's room for one - or maybe two, at a pinch - more on that bedroom windowsill (the only one in the house that's ideal for them). Let's see what I find. Well, that didn't last long...

EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid since 2007 and it just keeps flowering...

AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!

RO - Rescued orchid photo to come when it flowers. Phalaenopsis. Rescued from a bin up the road in 2019. Classic!

TO - Tiny orchid. Phalaenopsis. Bought at Tesco 21.8.20. It just begged to come home with me. How could I say no?

CO - Crimson orchid. Cambria. Another Tesco find. This one may be going to live in Ken's room once we've redecorated and put up the new shelving; it prefers a cooler, less sunny windowsill. If so, I'll need to find another cambrian to keep it company.

GO - Golden orchid. Phalaenopsis. Saw this one when I bought CO and left it behind - then immediately regretted it as soon as I got home. Never seen one like it before. Ken, bless him, went back over to Tesco in the rain and bought it for me...

DO - Dendrobium Orchid. Smells of wisteria, so beautiful...

RO2 - Rescued orchid no 2. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I rescued from the wall along the road middle of 2021.

PO. Pink orchid. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I bought at Cabury Garden Centre on special, late 2021. It's much happier here!

TWO. Teeny weeny orchid, Phalaenopsis. Rescued from Tesco end 2021 (I think).

My IMDb ep summaries

Arthur of the Britons
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
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)
The Café

For later:

Missing Earthian ep
Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)

Silver birch at Eastwood 


"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)


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:
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

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

Currently maintaining:

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 


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



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...

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



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

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
[::..Fun Places..::]
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: 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...

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...)

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

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

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

Yami no Matsuei

   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.

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

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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

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 - 30/04/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/05/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017
01/07/2017 - 31/07/2017
01/08/2017 - 31/08/2017
01/09/2017 - 30/09/2017
01/10/2017 - 31/10/2017
01/11/2017 - 30/11/2017
01/12/2017 - 31/12/2017
01/01/2018 - 31/01/2018
01/02/2018 - 28/02/2018
01/03/2018 - 31/03/2018
01/04/2018 - 30/04/2018
01/05/2018 - 31/05/2018
01/06/2018 - 30/06/2018
01/07/2018 - 31/07/2018
01/08/2018 - 31/08/2018
01/09/2018 - 30/09/2018
01/10/2018 - 31/10/2018
01/11/2018 - 30/11/2018
01/12/2018 - 31/12/2018
01/01/2019 - 31/01/2019
01/02/2019 - 28/02/2019
01/03/2019 - 31/03/2019
01/04/2019 - 30/04/2019
01/05/2019 - 31/05/2019
01/06/2019 - 30/06/2019
01/07/2019 - 31/07/2019
01/08/2019 - 31/08/2019
01/09/2019 - 30/09/2019
01/10/2019 - 31/10/2019
01/11/2019 - 30/11/2019
01/12/2019 - 31/12/2019
01/01/2020 - 31/01/2020
01/02/2020 - 29/02/2020
01/03/2020 - 31/03/2020
01/04/2020 - 31/04/2020
01/05/2020 - 31/05/2020
01/06/2020 - 31/06/2020
01/07/2020 - 31/07/2020
01/08/2020 - 31/08/2020
01/09/2020 - 30/09/2020
01/10/2020 - 31/10/2020
01/11/2020 - 30/11/2020
01/12/2020 - 31/12/2020
01/01/2021 - 31/01/2021
01/02/2021 - 28/02/2021
01/03/2021 - 31/03/2021
01/04/2021 - 30/04/2021
01/05/2021 - 31/05/2021
01/06/2021 - 30/06/2021
01/07/2021 - 31/07/2021
01/08/2021 - 31/08/2021
01/09/2021 - 30/09/2021
01/10/2021 - 31/10/2021
01/11/2021 - 30/11/2021
01/12/2021 - 31/12/2021
01/01/2022 - 31/01/2022
01/02/2022 - 28/02/2022
01/03/2022 - 31/03/2022
01/04/2022 - 30/04/2022
01/05/2022 - 30/05/2022
01/06/2022 - 31/06/2022
01/07/2022 - 31/07/2022
01/08/2022 - 31/08/2022
01/09/2022 - 30/09/2022
01/10/2022 - 31/10/2022
01/11/2021 - 31/11/2021
01/12/2022 - 31/12/2022
01/01/2023 - 31/01/2023
01/02/2023 - 28/02/2023
01/03/2023 - 31/03/2023
01/04/2023 - 30/04/2023
01/08/2023 - 31/08/2023
01/11/2023 - 31/11/2023

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Last evening of 2002...

I think it's time for a tour around my desk!

I now have a dragon. Courtesy of Sue. A wonderful blue dragon, lying on a green pillow. He has an interesting expression, kind of 'I've just woken up and can't decide what mood I'm in': Sue described it beautifully -

I was swithering between two dragons and my friend said she preferred the other one because he looked kind of sad whereas the one I gave you had the appearance of, 'you think I'm nice and friendly but if you mess with me ...' and I whooped and said, 'that's the one for Joules!'

He sits very nicely beside Radittsu. Their expressions match, somehow... Thanks Sue - he's wonderful!

I really don't think I have any room for anything more on, around or under my computer...

There has to be a word to describe this... Chaos?

Yes, that's the unicorn. As I said, it's very cute. I have this terrible and inexplicable urge - which I'm fiercely resisting - to call it Ethel...
LOVE the expression! Or possibly Ethyl? I just can't call a unicorn Ethel, can I? So for the moment it remains nameless... Cute expression, ne?

Actually, I could call it Notethel... Yes, I think that'll do nicely!

The wallpaper, by the way, is by Valkyrie - one of her gorgeous Benten pictures.

That strange little pale greenish thing on top of the monitor is a Computer Goddess (a pressie from Carol a couple of years ago). You wind her up and sit her on whatever bit of your computer is giving you problems, and her wings flap and (hopefully) the problem goes away - thus:

Monitor flickers Wind up Goddess, place on monitor. Turn monitor off and on
Disk error messages Place Goddess near left of keyboard, wind up. Move to right, and repeat
File transfer error recopy file with Goddess on top of CPU case
Insufficient memory Wind up Goddess, quit all applications by the time wings stop flapping
Unimplemented trap Place Goddess on top of head. Wind up, repeat three times and reboot
Slow 'net connection Call ISP, wind up Goddess and hold up to phone
Screen frozen Stand on one leg. Close eyes, place Goddess behind back, reboot
File not found Hold Goddess to sunlight. Wind up, softly hum 'You are my Sunshine'
Forgot password Clear your mind. Wind up Goddess, stare at wings until hypnotised. Give yourself post-hypnotic suggestion to remember password

It works, too!

This one is just silly...What the F*%$ has the bloody ningen saddled me with now?These are the baa-ing, oink-ing, moo-ing keyrings from Carol. It was her suggestion I give V the 'reins'. [Quote from Carol - "If you could get his legs further apart he could be riding them. Circus style" she hastily added....] Me, I'd like to give him skis or a snowboard and have them pull him along. Please don't ask me why, I have no idea...

The left hand black postit on the speaker bracket to the right of the monitor is another inimitable Sue-quote: - "It's good to have a live author to collect for a change - most of the ones I like are dead..."

Off to prepare bibbles - uh, I mean nibbles (ye gods and I haven't even had a drink yet!) Back at nidnight...

Uh... I mean midnight... >8-}


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Bloody unbelievable...

BlueYonder is down and has been for the last hour - I have no email, ICQ or net access unless I use my BusinessServe dialup, and since that costs... And then we've just had a complete power cut for a couple of minutes. Everything went, including the streetlights - and umpteen house alarms up and down the road (not ours, it's on its own circuit). And now my computer's playing up - it's surge protected but it did not like being so rudely interrupted. I'd give up and go to bed except I'm waiting for someone to call...



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Monday, December 30, 2002


Another package arrived this morning - with the Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack on cd! [glomps onna] Thank you so much. I'll mp3 it later - and have a perfect version of Old Souls to post at the end of the Alliance Chronicles.

Trolley Rage!! I had to shop today. Have I mentioned how much I hate shopping? It's one of those things that has to be done but I resent it eating into my writing time. It always rains when I have a major shop to do. And the mutoids always seem to appear in force as soon as I enter the shop... (gods help us if any of these people actually drive cars, they can't even manage shopping trolleys...) I tried to carry too much, as usual: shoulders, arms, back and legs are aching, but I can still type so that's OK.

We seem to be having a dinosaur-fest on TV at the moment: Dinotopia's been screened (last part tomorrow - pretty but somehow pointless. Wonderful CG though - and the idea of having to have a saurian life-partner made me chuckle. Can I have a blue one, please? Heh - I can't help it if I like lizards...) Then there was Dinosaur Hunters, and a Walking With Dinosaurs special... Is there something happening I don't know about? Not that that would surprise me, given my tendency to spend most of my time in a different reality...
Speed is on (again) now. It's OK to have on in the background, I suppose, lots of gratuitous destruction. Generally speaking, though, the TV this Yuletide has been pretty uninspiring. Even the new version of The Hound of the Baskervilles lacked sparkle. Still, that's what VCRs and DVDs are for, after all.

Feel quite chuffed. I can read the hiragana on the strawberry pocky box - it says tsubutsubu ichigo. Ichigo is strawberry, of course: my dictionary says tsubu is a grain, drop or lump, which I assume refers to the little lumps of strawberry on the sugar stick. Well, OK, so I still have a long way to go, but it's encouraging!


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Sunday, December 29, 2002

Ack - sorry Carol! I forgot to say that Ken's mum was both delighted and awed with the cross-stitch picture - very impressed indeed. Thank you so much for doing it for us, I know it took precious hours from your already limited time. It's much appreciated.


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Friday, December 27, 2002

Ken's folks away home, first machine load of washing on the go, Kai and Ken watching Honey I Blew up the Kid (mindless entertainment for the winding down day...)

I've had a fun couple of days. While everyone else watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Kai's video) yesterday afternoon I went hunting for a free hiragana font to download (I managed to not copy the old one across from my old computer) and in the process found this site, which has a wonderful hiragana randomiser and flashcard page. So I spent a couple of hours yesterday - and some this morning: woke up at 6.30 am - teaching myself hiragana (as far as the 't' row). Very satisfying! My calligraphy leaves a lot to be desired, but that'll come with practise. The same site has a dictionary detailing 1827 kanji - not that I think for one moment I'll be ready to use that for a while (although I can recognise a handful already - the radicals for road/proceed, tree, mouth, gate, sun/day, see, evening, mountain, small, learning, shell, numbers from 1 - 5, and the kanji for name/reputation, close, buy, and leave/go out. It's astonishing how much I've 'osmosed' over the last couple of years...) The main thing now is to keep it going...

And I even managed to find and install the hiragana font!


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Thursday, December 26, 2002

Well, I did have an early night, 11.45 pm - and the usual happened: I woke at 4.30 am and couldn't get back to sleep. So I've washed up, tidied kitchen and lounge, and fed the animals - it's a bit early to start cooking so I thought I'd update here instead.

Presents.... A wonderful assortment of the practical, beautiful and daft! A colourful chopping board from Kim (one of those tempered glass non-slip hygienic ones - much needed in my kitchen!) and a new cordless kettle from Carol and Adrian (needed since Ken dropped ours and broke a bit off the bottom, so it doesn't sit properly on the charging base) as well as a gorgeous unicorn brooch in a velvet pouch - and the mooing/oinking keyrings, of course! Kai had a cycle repair kit as well as his beyblade and launcher, and a tiny portable screwdriver kit where the working parts fit into the handle (he's very impressed with that! I can see it going to school with him so he can customise his beyblades at breaktime...). Arfs and Chris (Ken's brother and sister-in-law) gave Kai a Corgi Classics Air India Lockheed Constellation - a beautifully detailed model that will no doubt take pride of place on his bedroom shelf! He also had a microphone and speakers from Kim, an assortment of books from grandparents (and us), Scooby-Doo the Movie (again from us) other small odds and sods, and we all had various edibles and drinkables...

Ken splurged out on a host of genealogical bits and pieces as his present from both our folks (my tablet was my main thing, of course) and managed to find me four vampire books I didn't have! Then there was The Mummy Returns (from Ken's folks) and the aforementioned Scorpion King (drool), and toiletries for me from both set of folks.

And Kai has given me something very special - a Chinese camphor-wood jewellery box with brass (I think) hinges and clasp, and a flat piece of jade inlaid in the top, carved with two birds (sorry Lutra, I know I said dragon...) He actually found this dumped in a lane earlier in the year - gods know why anyone would throw away something this lovely, it only needed a little bit of repair - and I fell in love with it when he showed it to me. I know he really likes it himself, which makes it even more special for me.

Heh - I can hear stirrings from upstairs - Kai's probably awake. Once everyone is down we have a small Boxing Day present each: a little tradition I started years ago (it's nice to have something else to open after all the excitment of the 25th...) Then I guess it's a day in front of the box: it's pissing down outside... Pity. Yesterday was mild and sunny.

And in my mail this morning Valkyrie has zipped me three calendars - Benten, Dahga and Vicaa: they're wonderful! Think I'll have to print all three and stick them up around the house!

(Oh, Carol - you remember that 'Curiosity Cola' I bought last summer from the health food place up the Gloucester Rd? I opened it this morning - left my SodaStream coke upstairs and I don't really want to risk waking Ken up but I needed the 'feinne. It's nice! An interesting taste - definitely cola but without the chemicals!)


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Wednesday, December 25, 2002

.... knackered.....

Been a good day. Everyone liked their presents, dinner went down well, Kai loves his bike, and his beyblade and power launcher (from Carol), I now have a cow and a pig to go with the sheep (also from Carol!), and The Scorpion King DVD (drool - thanks Wendy!) to look forward to.

But at the moment all I want to do is sleep... Maybe try for an early night tonight...?

Oh, and it's Fairy Tale of New York, of course...


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Monday, December 23, 2002


Arrived back from shopping (every time I've gone to Sainsbury's recently they've been playing Thingummie (lullabye?) of New York) to find a parcel from Oz!!

Wonderful (and wonderfully weird!) stuff! Strawberry-flavoured yoghurt frogs; Blinky Bill jelly koalas (everyone loved them!); a Twirl (now that was interesting. Same company but made in Tasmania: it tasted quite different to our Brit ones, I'll have to send you one, Lutra, so you can see what I mean); Gohan, Bubbles and Oolong crazy bones; a gorgeous Scenic Australia calendar; an English/Aboriginal dictionary (brilliant... not many names for fruit and veg, though...); thumb massagers that look like little sandals (knobbly soles - you stick them on your thumbs and use them for acupressure!); a kangaroo fridge magnet with integral thermomenter: and - the Golden Turnip of Prosperity.

Yes, you did read that right. Got to be one of the oddest things I've ever seen... "some inscrutable asian good-luck thing apparently" according to Lutra...

Thank you! [GLOMP] (And for the comment re the pic - it's a favourite of mine.)

Thanks also to onna for the card! Lovely...


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There I sat, summoning the energy to rise and return to my desk after brunch, when Dexter's Laboratory started. I don't normally watch it, find it vaguely tedious, but today...

Well, he had blue skin, which was a great start. Big blue eyes with long lashes. Pointed ears, long blue hair and cute fangs. He wore blue nail paint, a short cloak and brief shoulder armour, full length fingerless black gloves and thigh-length high heeled boots. The rest of his costume - well, I thought my R'ren'nkh'ian outfits were brief, but they have nothing on that... (in fact I think I'm going to adapt it for the AC - if I can work out how it's supposed to stay on...)
And he was the 'bad' guy.... I like 'bad' guys, so much more interesting than the 'good' ones...

I thought kids' cartoons had reached a benchmark high in subversiveness with 'Him' (in the Powerpuff Girls) but this guy was something else! And dammit, I couldn't catch his name.

Kai grinned at me sitting there unblinking with my mouth open, and said, "Do you like him, mum?" (To which I think I answered, distantly, "Of course I do, darling, he's blue...")

The episode is called Jeepers Creepers, where is Peepers?, if anyone is interested. I looked it up on the 'net ("I'm not obsessive, just thorough...") and the ep guide says that he's based on Kats from 'All your base are belong to us' (which I'd never bothered checking up, conspiracy theory being vaguely annoying to those of us who really know what's going on >;-P ) I assume the similarity is in character because they certainly look nothing alike.

[*sigh*] I suppose I really should think about doing something about this thing I have for blue aliens... Then again...


Blogger Mefista said...

I know I am laate, but I've run across this post in my googleing escapade, and wanted to state that guy's name is Hookocho,and 50% of his design is actually parodying one of the characters of Saint Seyia )))

10:19 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Thank you! I was actually able to track down his name, but I'd no idea he was based on a Saint Seiya chara. I know of SS but have never managed to see any.

7:12 pm  

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Sunday, December 22, 2002

Ah, Yule. Winter Solstice. Longest night of the year (and not in the least coincidentally our anniversary. 13 years...)


Yule is a wonderful festival. It celebrates the death of the old sun and the birth of the new (metaphorically speaking, of course) - in effect the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. It's the origin of gift-giving, along the lines of 'you can't take it with you so give it to your children!': we give gifts to commemorate the old sun gifting its knowledge and power to the new. And of course, we have to party, eat and drink and make merry, to pique the sun's interest so she'll rise the next day, ensuring that the next solar cycle will proceed on target instead of the world being plunged into death and darkness!

Yes, those two do kind of contradict each other, but who cares? The beauty of the Old Way is its fabulous tolerance: life isn't black and white but a glorious array of colours, with room for every belief, every deity, every system of worship...
In this house, we start celebrating at the Solstice (which varies slightly from year to year: if you're talking actual dates (an artificial convention if ever there was one!) our anniversary is the 21st of December, but we actually celebrate it on the Solstice proper, which is today (22nd) this year...) and don't stop until the 1st of January. That's extending the traditional three days of the festival a little, but what the hell! It works for us!

And we did manage to restrain ourselves. We watch LotR special boxed edition today. Probably after Kai has gone to bed, although he did say he wanted to celebrate too, because it's the Solstice and because it's our anniversary. And if we hadn't got together, he'd never have been born - at least, not as the person he is right now...

Joyous Yule to you All!


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Thursday, December 19, 2002

I am pissed off. No, I'll rephrase that. I'm very pissed off...

I'll start at the beginning. Members of The Zone will have gathered that I'm rather fond of the anime Cyber City Oedo 808 (read: I'm hopelessly addicted to Benten). Some years ago I got involved with the excellent CCO808 fanzine CyberAge (and its grown up sister 'zine CopFiction: the Gogul pwp Joyride was written for the 'zine but it never ran to more than the first issue, alas...) I reviewed the first three issues, and was eagerly awaiting the fourth - but... You know how it happens, 'real life' gets in the way of what you really want to be doing. Well, I found out last week - thanks Valkyrie! - that it's being resurrected! And I may be able to contribute! (It's not new business, honestly Carol...) And Ashe Raven, who has taken over the reins, is hoping to have issue one ready for MinamiCon 9.

Which is the first weekend of March next year.

Which is held at the Novotel in Southampton.

Which is where Sue lives, and just down the road from Carol.

And there are no bloody places left!!!

No walk-ins either.

I am not impressed.

Mind you, even if I had known about it earlier I'd probably have been too

OK, so it's not in the same league as YaoiCon (which I'm also hoping - heh! I can dream, can't I? - to get to in October 2003), but it's British and accessible, and would be fun.

Maybe next year...


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... haddock... haddock... my kingdom for a (netful of) haddock... (or words to that effect...)

Discovered onna loves Phantom of the Paradise too. (The significance of that statement will become clear in the credits to the Alliance Chronicles, immediately prior to the very last chapter.) Thanks so much for the correct lyrics to Old Souls onna - that song still reduces me to tears after all this time. For anyone who knows the song, it inspired Radittsu and Zha'haabron's entire relationship. For anyone who doesn't, don't worry: I'll be posting the lyrics and the mp3 at the end of the Alliance Chronicles...

My Vejiita action figure now has Caspar the ghostly-baaing sheep standing staunchly at his side. And if that isn't my cue for a short I don't know what is....


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Monday, December 16, 2002

I really shouldn't go shopping on an empty stomach...

No, it wasn't food I bought (well, not until afterwards, a rather tasty hot pork roll with stuffing and apple sauce). I'd dived into Supadrug to pick up a couple of things, and when I got to the till - it sat there saying, "Buy me...." I think it was the golden eyes. Or maybe the silver horn, wings and hooves. Well, whatever it was, I now have a winged unicorn beanie (heh, a cheap Supadrug clone of one, anyway!) sitting on top of the monitor. A purple winged unicorn. With a fluffy [*wince*] pink mane, tail and inner ears.

I can hear Lutra's hysterical laughter from here...

Yesterday was wonderful! Great to see Carol, Sue and Adrian again. Kai dragged Adrian upstairs to play pinball on his computer: Carol, Sue and I chilled out with VH1, A Night on the Town (the Lewis Collins one), the Professionals episode of Without Walls (interesting stuff!), and much hilarity was had by all. It's just never long enough...

Oh, and I have Winston too!! Mine sounds a little like a ghost sheep, though, and has been named Caspar (how original...) Thanks Carol! (I have a confession to make; one of the parcels you brought fell over - and mooed at me... Scary...)

So... After today's shopping trip I now have all the presents, and the freezer's pretty much stocked with everything we need for Yule. Which isn't bad going, really, and means I don't have to go back into town this side of the start of 2003 (a relief: I don't like crowds...)

Kai breaks up from school on Friday; Spring Term starts 6th of January. He needs the break - this first term has been very tiring for him. (And us!)

For those reading who don't follow Lutra's blog, Winston - and Caspar - is a keyring with a small, white plastic sheep attached. When you squeeze its sides, it baaaas at you. Wonderfully silly - and such a cute face!


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Sunday, December 15, 2002

And I watched it...

The music is incredible. The artwork beautiful. The characters wonderfully memorable.

And the story reduced me to tears. Of all the anime I've watched to date, only the last few eps of Trigun have managed to do that.



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Saturday, December 14, 2002

OK.... Decorations now finished, cards written/enveloped/addressed, couple more presents wrapped.

And I did very well last night, too - well enough that I rewarded myself with the first part of Ai no Kusabi...

It's beautiful.
Raoul, Ai no Kusabi. Pic pinched from a website - forget which one. Paws off, Lutra - I saw him first!

And wouldn't y'know it, SCS (that's Secondary Character Syndrome) struck once again.
is main character Iason's close friend Raoul...

[Shakes head - where was I? Oh, yes.] And if I do as well tonight, I may watch the rest. Heh, so much for waiting! I can resist anything but temptation...

Thanks again onna!


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Friday, December 13, 2002

S'no good - I just have to share...

Gary sent us the URL for (Ta, Gary!) It's thoroughly giggleworthy - check out the 'computer' section. I particularly liked this one - instructions for a DBZ toy. And as for this one...!


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Two parcels!! I've never been so spoiled!

First was my next book to review - books, I should say, there are two. My fault for saying I had trouble whittling down the choice for my shortlist, no doubt. Actually, I'm not complaining: the first is an anthology of horror-love stories (read the first one before I got out of bed and ended up chortling: wry, dry, horrific humour - looks like it'll be a good one) and the second... well, it looks amazing and the blurb is most intriguing. I'll work out a description once I've read it.

And the other parcel? Well, it had the cutest beaming Vejiita-clone cartoon (wearing a shirt with a G on it) on the package, and inside - my Ai no Kusabi DVDs! [GLOMPS onna!] So far I've only watched the short intro bit: saving the actual anime until I can sit down for a few hours and just enjoy... the music in the little bit I've watched is gorgeous, the animation looks good, I already know the characters are fascinating... I can't wait!! Thank you so much, onna...

Heh - time to get ready to collect bratling. Tonight I write, tomorrow Ken and Kai finish the Yule decorations, watch DVDs/videos and write/address Yule cards (and I write), on Sunday Carol, Adrian and Sue come over to visit (YAY!!)

And I've decided to try and get a sort of Xmas Special AC chapter - a long one - written to keep things ticking over until the start of 2003. Hoping to get it posted 23 or 24< December... fingers crossed!


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Thursday, December 12, 2002


Another parcel arrived this morning - this one from Pluto (that's Pluto of Bow and Bloom [no longer exists], the Pluto Comic Gallery [no longer exists] and member of Umbrella Sudios: I'm not in the habit of receiving parcels from other planets - in this planetary system, anyway. This was a swap for a signed copy of our Clairvoyance.) Inside was a signed copy of her fabulous Faith and Donuts Trigun fan manga, and a special treat for me - a copy of Toshimi Nigoshi's Sand End (Trigun Book 10 - Wolfwood/Vash shounen-ai dj)... I adore TN's [link no longer exists]gorgeous artwork, but never expected to even see any for real, let alone actually own any... [dopy beaming grin] Thank you, Pluto. I'm completely blown away.

Time for another 13-hour Trigun-fest, I think. And to get a move on and learn to read Japanese...

On other fronts: I managed to finish the review (of Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World). Has to be one of the most difficult I've ever written, and even then I've only scratched the surface - it just covers so much... Ach, I'm not even going to try to give a synopsis here. If anyone's interested, it'll be posted on the review site sometime in the near future...

Remember some time ago I commented on the punk and Viking kitties on the Rather Good site? Well, I had an email from Fleming (thanks!), with a link to another 'musical kitties' performance at eyeEnvision (click the 'Litterbox' link). These cats are singing their own lyrics in their own language - scary!! But extremely well done... (I checked out the other links on the site as well... Not sure how to describe them. Eccentric? Not for the faint-hearted? They are funny, but in an unconventional and somewhat... umm... unique?... way. Approach cautiously would be my advice.)

Heh - back to it. There's no way I'm going to hit my next deadline unless I can find a time loop in the vicinity. Ah well...

Onna, Talon, there's a TN picture of Iason (Ai no Kusabi) in the 'other' section of the Gallery...


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Tuesday, December 10, 2002

It snowed as we walked to school this morning.

Heh, not as impressive as it sounds: a minute dusting of tiny flakes that settled on my jacket for a couple of minutes before melting - but it was fun for Kai. We rarely see snow here.

Arrived back, very cold, to find a package from Talon! Gravitation Re-mix CDs! WAI - what a way to warm up!! Many thanks - they're wonderful. I'll forward Lutra's on to her...

Right - off to do battle with the review. I'll forward a copy to you separately, Gary: it probably won't make it onto the website before Yule...


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Monday, December 09, 2002

.... Cold....

Temperature's hovering just above freezing, but the bitter wind-chill's taken that down to about -4° - at least it was during the day: it's a clear night so probably colder than that right now (not that I have any intention of bestirring myself to go out and check...)

Onna, Lutra ICQ'd me your comments (I'm reading only her blog until I've got myself and everything sorted out here, and settled into some sort of workable routine, which won't be until after Yule at least): thanks! I'd agree Ken is easy on the eye, amongst other things - he's a big strong unflappable bear of a man with a wickedly dry sense of humour (well, he'd have to be to put up with me!), though that's kind of in abeyance at the moment given how he's feeling. And I think Kai's managed to get the best of each of us (though I'd have loved him to have my green eyes and Ken's incredible hair instead of my hair and Ken's blue eyes - still, you can't have everything...)

I'm still sneezing and snuffling with this blasted virus, but at least the sore throat has eased off. And just to cheer me up, HTV is screening Outbreak tonight. It's good. (Quite why I have this fascination with biohazard type films is a mystery to me - I thoroughly enjoyed The Burning Zone too...)

But it's time to focus. I have the review of Splintered Light (Logos and Language in Tolkien's World) to finish and email off by Friday, and another project with a five day deadline that is giving me a headache: the AC - and anything else for the Zone - is going to have to wait until the weekend at the earliest. [pout] Including my 'raadiin/'fallon tablet picture. Ah well...


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Sunday, December 08, 2002

Sooooo...... Battlefield Earth.....

This is not a film that requires the suspension of disbelief. This is a film that requires you hang, draw and quarter it, hack it to pieces, boil it in oil then take out the pieces and jump on them. Abysmal, absolutely abysmal. No long-haired bishies, no matter how cute, are worth enduring this for...

Then again, it was based on an L Ron Hubbard book. I hadn't realised that until the end credits. Lutra, don't bother....

I've just downloaded the latest DigiGuide update, full channel TV listings up until Jan 3rd - well in advance of all the paper publications. And it's the same old fare we get every year, White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street (or whatever), Harvey, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang... I didn't notice The Sound of Music, but then I automatically switch off when I see those words anyway. BBC1 are showing the three Free Willy films (snigger - how anyone can say that with a straight face is beyond me!), and Channel 4 have a couple of interesting-sounding documentaries back to back on Xmas Eve - Criss Angel: Mindfreak (illusionist/magician, apparently a darker alternative to David Blaine, whoever the hell he is) followed by Cockstars (the men behind the Puppetry of the Penis phenomenon auditioning for a second troupe - should be very interesting indeed....). Then there's The Mummy (the Brendan Fraser one), A Christman Carol (the Patrick Stewart/Richard E Grant one), Death on the Nile (the Peter Ustinov one.... [yawn... eyes start to glaze over...]), Caspar, and the usual repeats and Xmas specials (which this year do at least include a My Family Xmas edition. So many opportunities for slashiness, dry humour and sheer lunacy at this season - one wonders just what Nick could get up to....)

Thank heavens for VCRs and DVDs is all I can say!

I started a drawing earlier, while Ken was on the phone with friend Gary in Portland, Oregon [waves to Gary and Sharon! Good talking with you!] 'raadiin and 'fallon, from the back, heads turned towards each other - done just using the tablet. I've a lot more control now than when I first got the thing: I won't say it's easy, exactly, but I really think I can manage it. Will see how we go.
Onna has sent me the first draft of her drawing of Za'rayne and Ra'vahn. They're gorgeous...

Zone membership now stands at 266 with 3 pending. What shall I do to mark the 300th?


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And Kai thoroughly enjoyed HP2...

The same cannot be said for The Perfect Storm [yawn]. However, Bicentennial Man (BBC1 yesterday afternoon) was an entirely different pan of chips - what a sweet, gentle film! Though I've never understood what's so desirable about belonging to a species that behaves as appallingly as the human race...

My personal Viking
(Ken by the phenomenally talented Adrian Good)

Chicken Run is fun! As Lutra says, 'I never knew plasticine could be so expressive!' And the Star Trek jokes are a hoot (oh, sorry, that's owls, not chickens...). Battlefield Earth will have to wait until after Kai's gone to bed, but I'll post an opinion later, Lutra!

Adrian took a series of photos of Ken during the summer, publicity shots for Early Heaven (I was supposed to have some done of me too, for Clairvoyance, but I hate photos of me and have never got round to it. Sorry Adrian - maybe one day...) and I finally scanned one of my favourites for the WordWrights site (which transformed into WaveWrights. Thought I'd post it here too.

Uh oh.... Kai is watching Cats and Dogs: we're at the bit with the Russian Blue - and Argent is sitting in front of the fire, watching the TV intently... This does not bode well....


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Saturday, December 07, 2002

[*sigh*] I'm a whale. Figures. Not that I'm complaining, of course; I love whales.

However, I'm a whale that should have been in bed at least two hours ago - tch, circadian rhythm's completely up the spout again - except that Kai's snuck into my side while I've been down here bandying 'words' with Yuuzen, and I know from experience that carrying him back to his own room will wake him, and he'll want to come down and watch Cartoon Network early...

Ah, what the hell. It's the weekend, Yule is close, his first term at junior school has been good, productive, and tiring for us all, and he's looking forward to tomorrow. And he has instructions to wake me (rather than Ken) no later than 10 am so I can make sure he's all prepared for the cinema.

Hn. That's less than five hours away. Ooops....


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Friday, December 06, 2002

I do like the smell of new technology...

We now have a sleek silver beast in a matching sleek silver cabinet sitting in the corner of the lounge. It took us two and a half hours, taking it nice and steady and following the instructions, to disassemble the old set up (untangling all the cables and memorising where everything plugged in), assemble the cabinet, sort out where best to position digital black box, VCR and DVD player and fineagle the whole, amazingly heavy thing back into place. Plus another thirty seconds to switch on and auto-setup!

But yumm, what a piece of kit! The TV's much bigger than the old one but because of the neat design it actually takes up less room, and the picture is wonderful.

To celebrate, I took advantage of our local video rental place's special offer (3 DVDs for 3 days for £3 - not the most recent releases, of course, but still films we haven't seen yet) and got out Chicken Run (Kai's choice), Perfect Storm, and Battlefield Earth (yes, I know the critics hated it, but the cover had what looked like a very cute long-haired bishie, and since I'm a sucker for cute long-haired bishies...) Kai is off to see Harry Potter 2 with his friend Jake, Jake's brother Alex and their mum tomorrow, then to lunch afterwards, so Ken and I will watch our films then: tonight I need to get some writing done before the chat.

Though I fancy having ID4 on in the background while I work...

Now what on earth are we to do with the old TV? It's probably good for a few more months, but we don't have room for it. Normally we'd let Kai have it, but he said he's fed up with taking TVs to pieces...


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Progress report....

Ken's check-up went OK. The blood tests were fine, nothing nasty or unexpected showing; the consultant was pleased, apparently, that everything's on track, and cautiously optimistic that the treatment is going to be successful (which is a huge relief, although of course this is just the first month. However, it's certainly cause for jubilation...!) One thing we have to be careful of though is that although Ken isn't anaemic yet, he is veering towards it. Luckily that's easily resolved: I take multi-vits with iron myself and just recently bought a huge tub of them - we'll share (and we take extra C vits as standard anyway during the winter). And I'll up our intake of dark green leafy vegetables [*grimace* Kai will be pleased...]

Yesterday was surprisingly busy - I now seem to be writing in three different Purgatory time-slots at the same time, one of them with three other people. The problem with that is that we're all in different time zones: two in the States, one in Japan. That's not too bad as they're on almost opposite sides of the planet, but I'm 5 hours+ ahead of the Americans... I'm not exactly at my best or most eloquent at 4am!

Still, Ken let me sleep in today, bless him - until 1.30pm: the body needed it, though it's taking an inordinate amount of caffeine to kick-start the brain today - so with a bit of luck I'll be fine tonight (Friday nights being Purgatory chat nights, you see...)

Time to get ready to collect the bratling...


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Thursday, December 05, 2002

Tch - woke up with a sore throat and painful sinuses. Looks like another of Kai's school-caught viruses. Hopefully it'll do the same as the last one, hover for a couple of days then vanish...

Still, got parcels in the post to US and Aus, in good time I think. Now need to get the UK cards signed and sent...

And I did finish Array - coding it up as we speak (if you see what I mean)


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Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Our special edition boxed set LotR - FotR DVD's arrived this morning (not the ultra-expensive one - the middle-priced one, should be £30 but we ordered ours from for £23, p&p free...). It's our anniversary present to each other, and we're determined to be good and wait until the solstice to watch it... though whether we'll be able to hold out or not remains to be seen...

Ken goes back to the BRI for his next month's worth of medication tomorrow. One month down, another 10 to go. He feels dreadful the whole time, and the drugs are having an effect we hadn't anticipated - he's finding himself unable to hold a thought for more than a couple of minutes, and his memory is very dodgy. It's horribly frustrating for us both, but worse for Ken because he can't follow the plot of a book, or even his own fiction, which he was hoping to be able to take a look at during this 'enforced rest' (even if he felt well enough to take on contracts and commissions, right now he doesn't have the mental acuity to handle them). And the side effects seem to be getting worse rather than better, though we're still hoping they might ease off. We've also discovered that not only are we supposed to make sure I don't conceive while he's on the medication, but for an additional seven months after he's finished the course. Just as well we weren't planning any more sprogs - by that time I'll be too old anyway...

Me, I'm about as stressed as I was when I found out that first husband was cheerfully screwing my so-called 'friends' behind my back, and the coming holiday isn't making things any easier, as I have less time than ever to write. The most infuriating effect is that the most stupid, tiny, insignificant things, things I'd normally laugh at or not even notice - like Sean and Marcus' picture eliciting raves while Kai is ignored - are managing to get right under my skin and upset me. Pathetic, ne? I just don't have the time or energy to waste feeling sorry for myself: I've too much to do, and too many projects to keep under control, to indulge in self-pity.

But at least I can do something about it by avoiding sources of stress as far as I can, until after the holiday at any rate. Means not reading blogs, and deleting all list digests unread, but at least I'll be able to write (I can't when I'm upset) which will save what sanity I have left.

Heh, you never know: that decision taken, I might even be able to finish Array - the next AC chapter - tonight!

Last day for post to the US is Friday. Better get that CD burned and posted off.

... Our new TV has just this minute arrived. Three days from order to delivery. Not bad, ne?...


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Monday, December 02, 2002

.... knackered....

Went straight into town after dropping Kai off at school - bank, central reference library to get some material photocopied for Ken (and have to go back because I didn't get everything he wanted) then up to Cotham Hill to get father-in-law's Yule present... A walk of about seven miles in total, much of it up and down hills, in and out of shops, in four hours. But I did very well, found exactly the right thing for Kim's youngster Joseph too - and picked up a copy of the Encyclopaedia of Unusual Sex Practises (every home should have one!)

It's compulsive reading. That mild arousal Lutra feels riding in a train has a name - siderodromophilia. And did you know that nasophilia refers to people who become aroused by licking and sucking their partner's nose? (Did you want to know?) Some of it is a definite turnoff, of course - enema cocktail, anyone? - some of it makes you wonder how the author got her details (apparently the inside of the transverse colon feels as though it's lined with fur...), and some of it left me shaking my head bemusedly over the bizarre things some people do to, and with, their bodies (and the bodies of others, human and animal alike). But all in all it's a fascinating read...

Thanks for the URL, onna - great site! I recognise some of them, too. Hoping to find some time over Yule to experiment.

Well, I managed a page of the next AC last night. Aiming to get some more done tonight...


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Sunday, December 01, 2002

It's a real pain fancying ice cream when there's none in the house...

Today was supposed to have been a relatively normal, straightforward, relaxed day, putting up Yule decorations - yes, I know it's early, but Kai was disappointed that he couldn't go to see Harry Potter 2 and wanted to do this instead. Only, before we could do that, he had to tidy up his bits, so we could pull the TV etc a little further into the lounge to make room for the Yule tree behind it...

And the VCR went off.

'Must be the scart plugs' I thought: the secondary TV one has been swapped several times just recently when we wanted to watch DVDs (despite my trying there's just no way I can feed the VCR through the black box or vice versa) and is a little loose. So we eased it back in - no joy - tried unplugging/replugging both ends - and got the picture back. In black and white. Jurassic Park 2 in B&W just doesn't look right... Tried swapping over scart leads - same problem. Tried swapping scart sockets on the back of the TV - colour back, but only on socket 1. Socket 2 is now, effectively, defunct unless we want to watch B&W. But even that won't last much longer: Ken complained about the graininess of Jurassic Park - I thought it might be because it's second hand and has been played a lot, but checked the settings anyway. Only to find the brightness on the TV was waaaaaay up almost to the maximum. Reducing it made everything so dark we couldn't see what was happening.

Diagnosis - the tube is on its way out. Fair enough, the TV is nine years old and is on nearly all the time, but we really did not need this just before Yule...

So I rang the fount of all electrical equipment knowledge, GoodTwin (and by extension Adrian the audio/video wizard): and lots of internet checking and Adrian referring to his magazines later I placed an order for a Sharp 28" widescreen with the essential 3 scart sockets from an astonishingly good value e-commerce site. Only £340 (including delivery) - a little more than half of what the current TV cost nine years ago. Supposed to be here within seven days, so we should be OK for over Yule (Ken's folks are coming up).

It means we have to delay buying the new mattress yet again (heh, I've almost managed to convince myself that sleeping on something that feels like pebbles is good for the soul), but we knew we'd need to replace the TV soon anyway. The timing could have been a little better, that's all.

Still, Kai's happy because his fibre-optic tree is now sparkling in multi-coloured glory above his computer in his room. It really is very pretty.

I am now, finally, going to try to do some AC...


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