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
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01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
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01/05/2009 - 31/05/2009
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01/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
01/08/2009 - 31/08/2009
01/09/2009 - 30/09/2009
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01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
01/12/2009 - 31/12/2009
01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
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01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
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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

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Last full morning of the course (tomorrow is wind-down time and a chance for the mums to talk with the therapists). Nicky had brought in a book about Asperger's Syndrome, which I read while the sprogs were 'playing': very, very interesting. What struck me most, skimming through, was how many of the 'symptoms' of the condition applied - not to Kai, but to me, especially as a child and young adult. Now that would explain a lot!

Of course, there's always the question, how much of the problem is actually AS and how much is normal childish behaviour? But the main symptom/difference seems to be an inability to recognise the unwritten rules and codes of behaviour that most people pick up instinctively in their interactions with others, and which were always a complete mystery to me (and seem to be a puzzle to Kai as well). Yes, I've learned over the years what reactions are appropriate in a wide range of situations, but it never came easily, and even now I partly rely on a mental checklist of things I should pay attention to, ask or look for. On the positive side, AS seems to enhance the imagination, memory, original thought, the ability to visualise, and the qualities of honesty, reliability, loyalty and a strong moral code. And in my case it would give me an insight into strategies for helping Kai cope - I've already been through it.

Heh, and it seems that a lot of geniuses showed signs of AS - Einstein, Bartok, Van Gogh and Wittgenstein amongst them! We'd be in good company.

Managed to grab a couple of hours sleep this afternoon - feel so much better for it! Off to get something constructive accomplished!





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Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I'm sure there are things I'm supposed to have done/emails I'm supposed to have answered and I just can't think of them...

Today was just exhausting. The SS session was... odd. All about asking questions and showing interest in other people, and the importance of keeping at a comfortable distance, friendly face and voice, and good eye contact, prerequisites for successful friendships (heh, successful dealing with anyone, not just friends). The sprogs understood that, and were great in role-play with the therapists - but with each other, when being filmed... [shakes head] Kai wouldn't look at Henry (had his eyes closed a lot of the time) and sat on the edge of the seat but arched backwards. Fair enough it's an artificial environment, but that was extreme. It wasn't that he was bothered by the camera (Kai is a right little poser when it comes to having his image recorded!) - quite what it was I haven't been able to fathom yet.

The Museum was fun - if tiring: Henry can be a little on the impatient side! But we all enjoyed the visit, especially making the Greek vessels, and following the 'hero' trail around the building, finding various exhibits that illustrated parts of the labours of Herakles and answering questions/drawing them onto the question sheet. And the three boys (Henry's little brother was with us too) certainly enjoyed the mummies in the Egyptology section!

Afterwards Kai and I walked down to the river and visited the architect's shop. This is a strange little place with esoteric books, individual jewellery and unusual (and very expensive) cards and gifts, but it's one of bratling's favourite places: they sell coasters, clip-boards, keyrings, placemats and notebooks made from recycled circuit boards. [sigh. Let myself be persuaded into buying two new keyrings...]

Two more days and I don't have to get up early and get us both into town every morning... Bliss!

Nice easy week next week, Carol? Please?

But the transfer out forms have arrived from BusinessServe, so I'm on the way to moving the Haadri site to ClaraNET...





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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

[groan] Just realised I've left AC5 and 'l&L at cliffhangers...

Today went well. Still only Kai and Henry, but they had fun - and have already started building on what's gone before. Interestingly, while Kai has trouble distinguishing between scared and surprised faces, he has no difficulty distinguishing between fine shades of vocal expression...
Henry's mum, Nicky, was with him today, and dead chuffed at how well the two of them were getting on: we're all going to the Groovy Greeks at the Museum tomorrow (1.30 p.m. after the session) - should be fun!

Visited the Red Lodge afterwards - gorgeous place, although the walled garden was closed (some sort of maintenance problem).

Oh - and before I forget! Kai says thank you to everyone who admired his self-portrait. It's grown on him: at any rate, he was happy to show everyone at the course today.

Heh, meant to write at more length but I'm shattered, running on 'feinne and willpower and really ought to get to bed.





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Right - I need to get to bed very soon. Moonlight is going to be split into two parts - part one will be posted as soon as possible: it's now 9 pages long, and much as I'd like to finish the section, if I delay posting it'll be another week before the full chapter is available to read. I think it would be better to give members a cute 'lestrel and Lutra lemony bit now than keep everyone waiting. And then post another cute lemony bit next week(end if I can)...

Will post as soon as Lutra has checked it!





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Monday, July 28, 2003

Kai had 'homework' from his Social Skills Course - two A4 pages, one for him and one for him to write out for me, telling the course what we do best, favourite foods, games, things that make him (and me) happy and sad. There's a space for a picture at the top: it didn't have to have anything in it, but if the children liked they could stick a photo there - or draw a picture. Kai decided he'd draw himself, so I lent him my little two sided pocket mirror (magnifying one side, normal the other), and this is what he produced by looking into it (the normal side). First time he's tried anything like this. [edit 2013 - again, can't find the pic] He doesn't like it, doesn't think it's very good, but I think it's amazing!

And yes, I'll forestall the comments - it does look a bit like the sensory homunculus... is this a male way of seeing, or just proof that males tilt mirrors in strange ways...?





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[Yawn.....] No, not bored, knackered. Deliberately got up earlier yesterday to make sure I was tired earlier last night, so I could have some decent sleep and get up even earlier this morning for Kai's first Social Skills session. A cunning plan - and of course, like Baldric's, it failed. Oh, I went up earlier - 3 a.m. is earlier for me - but couldn't drop off for about an hour (still wound up over the hassles with blogger, I think - I really, really resent having my time wasted). And four hours later I had to get up again...

But it went very well. I hadn't been sure whether we had to stay with the sprogs, or observe, or whether we should leave them to it and call back later: as it happened they wanted us to observe (through a two-way mirror! All very CI5 - there was a dome security camera in one corner hooked up to a monitor screen in the observation room, with its own little console and a joystick to change the angle).

It was fascinating!. Only Kai and Henry (two years older than Kai) turned up - there were supposed to be four sprogs in all - but it still worked very well. Interesting to see that Kai has difficulty telling apart the expressions for surprised and for scared...

We wandered over to Brandon Hill afterwards - not really a great day for it, overcast today and trying to rain, but Kai really wanted to. Weather regardless, it really is lovely there: the area around the tower has been landscaped into lots of little paths and streams and waterfalls and hidden pools, with benches for resting on. We looked inside the bottom of the tower - apparently the council (or whoever looks after these things) have repaired all the steps, they're much safer now, and there's a sturdy metal handrail anchored to the wall, but it's still very steep, very narrow and dark. (Kai decided he didn't want to climb up to the lookout balcony, for which I was heartily grateful!) But I'd forgotten just how steep the hill is! And it was very windy today: Kai had great fun pretending he was being blown away by tornadoes...

So back again tomorrow, hopefully the Red Lodge after the session, then across town to quickly do all the boring stuff I couldn't do today.

In the meantime, Moonlight is now six pages long and should hopefully be finished tonight. Then I can focus on F04 again!





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Sunday, July 27, 2003

It has just taken me two hours to reconstruct this blog practically from scratch. I don't know what happened, although it was very similar to what happened two nights ago on the Haadri blog (remember Lutra?) when for no reason half the blog suddenly vanished and I had to go republish everything. Since this happened when trying to add Carol's new blog to the template I'm tempted to blame Butch. Or Dixie. But no - let's blame Blogger...

I am NOT impressed - not with the service (I've been trying for six days to pay to have Haadri made ad-free and my request hasn't even been looked at yet, let alone replied to), nor with the help and support (which is marginally less useful than gangrene, even if you can find the category you're looking for), nor with the 'new' system of templates, which are even more bloody confusing - and less easy to use - than the old ones. Yes, I appreciate that blogging has probably proved wildly more popular than the creators ever dreamed, but that is not an adequate excuse, especially after selling out to Google.

So sorry folks, that's two hours less time I've had to write the next AC chapter...

And Lutra, try not to need to make any changes to your template. That seems to be when they switch you over from the old system to the new, losing information on the way. As it is it's quite likely I'm going to have to sign in under yet another pseudonym in order to keep the *pathed by A'lestrel* tag - the new system doesn't appear to allow for the same person to have different nicks (or if it does the instructions for use are buried somewhere I can't find them.)





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Well that was fun!

We have one of those four-position catflaps fitted - in-and-out, outgoing-only, incoming-only, and closed. Normally at night I leave it on incoming, just in case one of the cats manages to get out (not that they really try anymore, though they used to when they were younger). Twenty minutes ago I heard one of them scrabbling frantically at the flap...

Went through to the kitchen to see what was going on, to find Argent trying to get out. Only, as I realised very quickly, it wasn't Argent, it was a strange Imperial tabby, one I've never seen before - and it was panicking. I think it may have come in trying to escape from Quyn (I'd let him out a couple of minutes previously): although he knows it's more than his life's worth to hurt any of the cats, he'll still take off after them if he finds strangers on his territory - dogs are, after all, hard-wired to chase anything that runs away.

This poor little beastlie was terrified! I mean, I'm very, very good with cats, but I was actually afraid to try to tackle this one. I don't mind being hissed at, that's not dangerous, but it was curled up in the corner growling at me from deep in its throat, eyes huge, and I still have the scars on my hands and wrists from tackling Jasmine (the cat who escaped into our garden from the PDSA some months back; I forget exactly when, though I noted it in the blog at the time...) Plus I was trying to get Quyn in from the garden and keep Ryme and Raptor (who are also extremely territorial) out of the way. I finally managed to gently push it out of the opened catflap, though not without regret: it was a handsome cat, without a collar, but obviously reasonably-well fed. (I assume it belongs to someone who thinks it's fine to let the cat out at night, here, in the city, where the traffic never stops and we're between two major roads... Makes me very angry. If you live in the city, you should keep your cats in at night, it's cruel and dangerous to do anything else. It might have been OK forty years ago but cities are different now. Obviously if you live in the country it's an entirely different matter, though given the occasional bouts of cats being caught and slaughtered for their skins to make toys, I'd still be wary, personally.)

The catflap is now on closed, to prevent another invasion, which will confuse Kai in the morning (it's usually his job to open the flap to let the cats out). Ah well, he'll understand when I explain - and then probably ask me why I didn't wake him up so he could come and say hello to the strange cat....

[sigh] And Argent has just wandered down to the kitchen, had a sniff round, then come through to me and myowled in his inimitable "What'd I miss?" fashion... I despair of that cat, he's definitely not from this world.

Mind you, I'm not that sure about the others either...

Have made a start on Moonlight, the next 'l&L chapter, and done a little more to F04, but my hands are so sore from yesterday that trying to do much more will be counterproductive. Will have to close down soon and see how they are tomorrow.





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Saturday, July 26, 2003

[clipped from onna's tree, re: Bristol]

I wish I could visit. I am envious of all the fascinating history you have around you.

There's been an actual ongoing settlement here for a very long time, and signs of human habitation go back even further (mind you, you can say that of just about anywhere in the UK!) You'd love it here, and you're welcome to visit any time.

I checked out the America's Stonehenge site - it looks like a great place! I like the functions they hold, too. Then I went in search of Neiman Marcus, and found an online catalogue... and took a wander round. Some very nice looking stuff (though I didn't bother looking at the prices) I'd never heard of Stephen Dweck but I fell in love with one necklace!

Exactly the sort of thing I'd wear if a) I could afford it and b) I had the clothes to go with it (though I suppose the leather would look OK...) Heh, beautiful model, too!

Loved the story about the rings - very romantic!
Twister was on HTV earlier: Kai now has it on video - and I'm wondering how long it'll be before I'm so tired of it I just plug in the headphones and play mp3s....






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[netted in Lutra's Pond]

Hee! I did it! I wrote a character that has no redeeming features! *oddly proud of self*

So you should be! Jackson is perfectly loathesome - and perfectly believable. It takes real skill to create someone like him. It's very easy to create his opposite - the loathsomely perfect character (who, let's face it, is never anything more than a Mary Sue, completely unbelievable, unrealistic and (in my opinion) a candidate for drowning at - or preferably before - birth) - but to bring to life someone so thoroughly nasty... [shakes head] I may have fun torturing him, but he's your creation, and I am very, very impressed...





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It's worryingly easy to torture Jackson - seven pages in two hours.

[ouch...]





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Friday, July 25, 2003

A lot to say today!

The report from the speech and language therapist arrived in the post this morning - she did go to see Kai at school, on the 17th (typically, he didn't mention it...) Basically the report bears out everything we've noticed/thought: Kai's described as a 'pleasant and quietly-spoken child with a mature turn of phrase' (in the clinic-situation); that he 's aware of the problems he has communicating with his peers but takes some responsibility for it; and that he has difficulty understanding indirect questions - that was borne out by the school visit too - which we've known for ages and tend not to use when speaking to him. Hn. Maybe that was a mistake - perhaps we should start, get him used to them.

The report mentions Kai's difficulty joining in with others and liking his own way all the time, though I think that has improved a lot recently, and that we discussed the possibility of Asperger's Syndrome. The therapist feels, as we do, that while he has some social communication difficulties they're not sufficient to merit that diagnosis - at least at this stage. We've been offered (and accepted) a place on the Social Skills Group course, 10-12 every morning all next week, where he'll be observed interacting with other (unfamiliar) children in a variety of games and role-play, so we'll see how that goes!

Since this means a trip into town to the Children's Hospital evey day, we'll take a packed lunch, stay in town, and do other things afterwards. I've never been to the Red Lodge, though Kai has, with Ken, and loved it, so we'll go there one day. The Museum and Art Gallery is close too - I can go drool over the display of Japanese ceramics while Kai explores the dinosaur exhibition. Though there's a 'Groovy Greeks' event there on Wednesday, we should try to catch that. Then there's Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill (though whether I feel like climbing the tower is another matter, steep stone spiral staircase with worn and slippery edges and positively claustrophobic...) Then there's the Georgian House, also nearby and somewhere else I've never been... I'm sure the Harbour Festival is on sometime soon, too. There are times when it's nice living in a city with such a rich and well-preserved history!

And next Friday Carol arrives for a week's visit! Really looking forwards to that. We're hoping to go to Westonbirt Arboretum again, there's another designers exhibition this year. Berkely Castle is another possibility: I've been there, many years ago, and really enjoyed the visit. They had a wonderful walk-through butterfly house, I remember...

I'd love to go back to Brean Down too: if Kai doesn't enjoy the fort (and the archaeology: there's the remains of a Romano-Celtic temple there - not impressive but the feeling of antiquity is quite strong) there's a tropical bird garden in the nearby seaside town. And of course there's the Bristol Balloon Fiesta - we're hoping to make it to the nightglow this time!

Ye gods, and that's just the first two weeks of his holiday!

And of course I'm hoping to get plenty of drawing done while Carol's here - very inspirational, my GoodTwin!
Ken and Kai are at the Museum at the moment, reporting in their Big Dig finds if I've understood them correctly, and taking rather longer than Ken had anticipated: might be looking round the place after talking with the curators, Kai wanted to and can be very persuasive when he wants (and I do mean persuasive, he's never been prone to tantrums to get his own way. For other things, yes, occasionally, but never that...)
[clipped from onna's tree]

Kai is absolutely ADORABLE in those cool shades! Do I dare say, that with that impish grin and sparkling eyes he reminds me a bit of Mr. H. Potter.

[wince] Thanks - I know what you mean, and I think it's very cute, but I won't mention it to him: he was being teased by an older boy at school about looking like HP - boy kept calling him Potter - and it upset him a bit. I couldn't work out quite why it upset him, he likes HP, it wasn't a case of bullying, and it seems to have eased off now, but he's still a bit sensitive about it...

We have a bit of a problem at the moment - had a letter this morning advising us that our gas supplier, Amerada, has just been bought out by Powergen - yes, the nuclear fuel people. Not at ALL happy. Our electricity supplier is unit[e], who only use renewable energy sources - a bit more expensive than the other companies but worth it to know we're not adding to global problems. But at the moment there's no equivalent gas supplier (not sure there ever will be, given the nature of the fuel). We use gas for cooking and heating; we could switch to an electric cooker, I suppose (we really need to get another soon, ours came with the house and was 16 years old even then - it's almost an antique now!), but they're so slow: I like the speed and controllability of gas. But we couldn't afford to change to electricity for our heating/hot water, would mean a lot of work on the house itself... We're going to have to try to find the least offensive option, I think, and reconsider options later...

Oh, and I forgot to mention - MST3K the Movie was abysmally bad... Completely unfunny. We've taped over it. Such a pity, given how hysterically funny the series was...

Lutra's Second Chance pt 2 is now finished and ready to code/upload to the Darkside: will get that done shortly, and make a start on my follow-up to it (I do so enjoy torturing Jackson) - and while I'm in that mode I may have another stab at finishing Slash. But right now I have to take another look at F04 - did well last night, but not finished yet...

[also clipped from onna's tree]

The muses have temporarily deserted me, not good. Maybe they might be tired too. Or both are visiting Joules! Smell anything bad in the garden lately, Joules?

ROFL! No, no Grunt here. I don't use muses for writing. Might have had one when I was a lot younger, but if you write for a living you can't afford the luxury.





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Thursday, July 24, 2003

Oh - and for the record: I only revoke IDs and Passwords for the Zone if I find the member has been abusing the service. (Essentially it takes time to remove anyone, time I'd much rather spend writing.) Just so's you know.





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Still on the subject of yaoi, Carol emailed me earlier (quoted with permission):

Just a quick line to agree with you. If these people have so much time on their hands perhaps they'd like to do something about the porn spam, which is IMO so much worse. I just delete pornmails, but any child being confronted with the 15 emails our completely unpublished office email received today would be traumatised. But like anything else, it's the 'easy' target - the people who are willing to put their name to their work (even if most writers are using nicknames, it's still a name. And they don't mail their 'disgusting' stories out as spam to all and sundry, you have to go looking) - that do-gooders go after. And nothing pisses me off more.

I should add that Carol doesn't write yaoi or slash, doesn't even read it (apart from mine and the odd unusual or funny story I recommend), so she doesn't have any kind of vested interest...

I told Ken about the little-ninjin/over-reacting husband situation: he rolled his eyes and said, "And what planet is he living on?" Ken also doesn't read yaoi or slash, not even mine, although he knows what it is because I've told him in considerable detail. I think his general opinion is that there are far more important things to worry about than stories about people in love and the things they do. My opinion tends to be that anyone reacting that strongly to the idea of yaoi is probably somewhat uncertain of their own sexuality and feels threatened by the notion... Oh, I know it's more complicated than that but this isn't really the place to hare off into a philosophical treatise.

I've just watched and thoroughly enjoyed Legend of the Blue Wolves. It is more fun when you can understand the background to the story. [sigh] The snippet at the end always intrigued me, but we'll never know what other goodies the author had in store - he went bankrupt before he could continue the series...
Kai and Ken are watching The Abyss - it's the first time Kai's seen it and he's engrossed. It's such a feel-good movie.

"You have to look with better eyes than that..."





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WAI!!! Package arrived this morning, from onna - a CD with the subtitled version of Legend of the Blue Wolves! Shall watch that later, find out what the plot is...[grin]

There's been discussion recently, on the SaiyanSecretsList, about fanfiction.net and certain self-appointed yaoi vigilante groups (and individuals) who seem to have nothing better to do with their time than scour the internet searching for yaoi and doing their best to have it removed. I actually followed a couple of the links to check out the sites...

I'm not going to name the groups, because I see no reason to give these... people (to save using a more inflammatory term) any kind of promotion, but the results were interesting. One of them states that they are trying to prevent young people from gaining access to material that could distress or alarm them. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that 'real life' provides far more distress and grief than any written work possibly could, in principle I agree with this sentiment. I know that Kai is too young at the moment to read an awful lot of what I write (he's got quite used to me switching windows and telling him I'm writing 'grown-up stuff' when he hovers behind me to ask a question) - but I will have no objection to him reading it when he's older, if he wants to. I'd prefer him not to stumble across anything 'adult' on the 'net, either (though at least we've always been open about - well, just about everything, actually! - and I'm always happy to explain anything he doesn't understand), although if it's clearly labelled and he chooses to ignore any warnings.... well, he knows that warnings are there for a good reason!

Of course, not everyone is in the same position as us, and I can understand parents, in particular, wanting to protect their children from concepts that are a little too mature for them to appreciate (that's 'understand', not necessarily agree with: thinking back to my own childhood I regularly read things that were too old for me, but the struggle to understand them certainly boosted my academic capacity!) It's when that desire to protect becomes aggressive, turns into blind intolerance, that it worries me...

And of course, it does no good. Tell someone they can't have something, nine times out of ten they'll want it all the more and find a way around the prohibition - and never moreso than when the individual is young (in mind or body!)

The second of the sites I looked at was altogether more annoying, not for their denigration of bad writers, but for their lumping together all yaoi writers as bad. These morons have obviously never heard of Ai no Kusabi (the mainsteam yaoi classic) or Gravitation or Wind and Trees Song or Legend of the Blue Wolves - to type the first four that come to mind. Whether the population in general likes it or not, yaoi (and gay, and lesbian, and bi, and transexual) Art (umbrella term to include literature, film, etc) is a fact - it's not going to go away. The sensible reaction is to accept the fact, and take pleasure in the safe exploration of difference.

Then again, the human race isn't exactly famous for being sensible...

have no patience with bigots. But if I'm intolerant of intolerance, does that make me a bigot myself...?

I'll qualify that statement - 'real life' provides far more distress and grief than any written work possibly could unless said work is badly written, in which case it causes me enormous distress, not to mention high blood pressure! (Back)





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Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Well, that's Kai now home for the hols...

I dropped into the school to thank his teacher - Mr Rees - for all his hard work this year: it's really made a difference to us all. I did ask about Kai's PE mark while I was there, not as any big thing, and it appears it's just because Kai is (perhaps that should read was, he's improved a little recently) reluctant to join in, which is what I suspected. We're not bothered, and neither is Kai, and neither is his teacher - PE simply isn't that important.

The walk back from school was very very funny. For the last year I've asked, every afternoon, how the day went and what he did. The usual - traditional schoolkid! - reply has been a mumbled OK, and sometimes, if it was something that grabbed his attention, a little bit of detail about what happened. Not today... OH no. Today he started telling me about it before we got out of the school gates and didn't stop talking until we reached the newsagent for something for him (a bag of M&Ms today) as a treat for the way home! Mind you, they haven't done an awful lot of work this last three days, it seems to have been all videos (Shrek, Treasure Planet) and games. Best Smiler certificateOh, and special certificates (I have the sneaking suspicion everyone got one for something) were given out - Kai's was for being the best smiler in the class!

This evening he's watched a documentary on big spiders [sigh] and now one on tornadoes (the documentary about '90s series of events in Tornado Alley): later there's a Miss Marple film (The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side) starring the fabulous Joan Hickson followed by MST3K: the Movie, featuring This Island Earth, which should be a laugh.

Watching The Sentinel earlier I was struck by another reason I like it so much. There's hardly any of that tedious macho posturing that mars so many 'cop' series': the pair of them are fairly clear about their relative strengths and mostly happy to stay within their fields of competence. Not always, of course, but most of the time. Makes them a great team, very satisfying to watch, for me. But does it ever stop raining in Cascade - other than when the rain is actually needed to put out an arsonist's fire, of course...?





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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

[grumble] Went to pay for the ad-free version for the Haadri blog and the system's down for maintenance... Have to try again later...

[Snipped from Talon's Nursery]:

...the original recipe was "beer can chicken" but as both Jim and I loathe beer, we changed it to soda. Didn't get enough of the orange flavor, but the chicken was lovely and juicy [snip] We had it with jacket potatoes and carrots done in brown sugar and butter. A bit of a sweet meal....

That sounds tasty - and I can imagine ham in ginger ale would be very nice indeed. We like carrots glazed in honey and butter with a dash of fresh-ground black pepper and lemon juice: add peas at the last minute!





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Right, that's the new Haadri blog started. [growl] That ad banner has to go! Will check finances with Ken tomorrow...





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Sunday, July 20, 2003

Weekend? What weekend?

My apologies to everyone I owe emails - especially Valkyrie and 'Saru. I just have no idea how the haddock escaped...

I did manage to write Penalty, the next AC chapter, however, and finished this month's review (which isn't going to make me any friends!). And Kai's quite enjoyed the weekend: I rented three videos, his current favourite, Twister, Mission to Mars (pretty but ultimately pointless) and Earth versus the Spider, which Kai loved, gory little horror!

The last of our photos came back from the developers - this is Kai with Carol and Adrian at Basingstoke Ice Rink last Feb. He's been asking about going skating again;

I'll have to find out the programme at Bristol's Rink...

I have a particular fondness for those - "If I want your opinion, I'll [fill in the gaps]" - phrases. Favourites til now have been, "If I want your opinion, I'll beat it out of you" (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark), and "If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you" (Twister), but just recently I heard one that cracked me up - and dammit, I can't remember where it was! I'm pretty sure it was on TV... "If I want your opinion, I'll read your entrails."

Oh yes! What a wonderful sig that would make, for me...

Off to take another look at FirstLight chapter 2. The general consensus is that I've introduced too much too soon, which actually tallies with my own opinion. Time to haul out the editing shears...

[Transplanted from Talon's Nursery]:

Think we're gonna make pop-can chicken tonight...I wanted to do it with vernors, but Jim wants to try it with orange soda first, so we're gonna use the new Mountain Dew Livewire (avilable only Summer 2003...don't you just love marketing). I KNOW using Vernors would be awesome...I did some ducks once in ginger ale, and they were SO good, made my tongue want to slap my brain out of my head!!! But we'll try it with the orange first...think cherry Coke would be good too...

Huh? It sounds... interesting... but chicken... or duck... with orangeade? Ginger Ale?? Cherry Coke!??

Admittedly I don't actually like any of those drinks (though I don't know what Vernors is), which would be offputting to start with... but... Then again, I've done chicken and pork with cider - that's British cider, the luvverly alcoholic stuff *hic* - and that's fizzy too, so I guess it's not quite as strange as it first sounds.... I do like duck in orange sauce, though I normally make the sauce with Cointreau and white wine, which is why we don't have it very often given the price of Cointreau!... As long as it's not Cherry Coke. Loathe the stuff...

Glad you liked Penalty, Talon! [evil grin]





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Friday, July 18, 2003

[grins happily] FirstLight chapter 2, first draft, is finished, a day ahead of schedule: I'm very pleased! Need to check it through very thoroughly tomorrow then it can come over to you, Sue (along with chapters 1 and 3, which don't need revision) to see what you think...

Heh, it's fine start! If I carry on like this I'll have it ready to take flight at the end of the summer as planned. Fingers crossed!





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Thursday, July 17, 2003

Ken's back from his bi-monthly hospital checkup: all's stable except that he's lost a little weight, which he's actually quite pleased about. Iron level's still low, but not low enough to mean a change of medication strength, which is good, although that's where a lot of the tiredness has come from. He's also noticed his eyesight's gone a bit fuzzy just recently - another side-effect, apparently.

Another 12 weeks and we'll know if this course has worked. If it hasn't, it seems there's yet another year-long course of a different medication that could be tried. Oh joy. Fingers crossed this course has had the desired effect!





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Sylverthorne drew Butch!! [big eyes, impressed] He's wonderful - and the original is dead chuffed with the picture too! Many thanks indeed! (Click the pic at the left to see the larger version.)

It's wonderfully cool today - poured with rain all last night and is still drizzling on and off, with quite a wind blowing. But we seem to have avoided the promised torrential downpours and thunderstorms, unfortunately; both Kai and I really enjoy them.

Bratling met his next year's teacher yesterday - and got his end of year school report. There are marks for effort and achievement in each of the subjects, and the grades are 'excellent', 'good', 'satisfactory' and 'unsatisfactory': the subjects are English reading and writing, Maths, Science, ICT, History, Geography, RE, Music, Art, PE and DT. Kai got 'excellent' and 'good' in everything except PE, where he was marked 'unsatisfactory'. Not that I'm too bothered - he's active enough to be healthy, and I always hated PE myself! I will ask his teacher why, as it came as a bit of a surprise, and Kai couldn't explain it either. Overall though we're delighted, and the general comments are very encouraging: he's come along so far this year, especially in his social skills.

He's going to the school disco this evening...





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Wednesday, July 16, 2003

One of the problems with being so completely focussed on my writing is that quite often other important facets of life tend to only be perceived peripherally for large swathes of time - like the kindness of friends...

Reading emails and checking blogs before making a start this morning I was slapped in the face - gently - by how interested and concerned friends are. Lovely comments about Kai's photo, and commiserations for his having to change his sports' day event, make us feel so cherished... I really do appreciate all the consideration shown, even if I don't always show it. So thank you Talon, Lutra, 'Saru, Valkyrie, Carol - tch', everyone! - for caring.

Friends and friendship are such wonderful things...





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Tuesday, July 15, 2003

My WeatherPixie is definitely not working properly: she's still saying 17 and it was at least 30 today...

But we did have an hour of broken cloud and a light breeze before it got really hot this morning. Took Kai to school then went straight round to St Anne's Park where the sports were being held: too early of course but as ever I had my trusty notebook and pen with me (and managed to plot an internal justification for an event in FirstLight that had to be there but which had always slightly worried me - chuffed I am...). Then all the children arrived and settled themselves under their teams' respective gazebos (Kai was in the blue team) and I found a spot on the other side of the temporary track and sat down.

Only to find my sinuses clogging and my eyes stinging - I've known I'm allergic to something hayfeverish for ages, just never got around to identifying what. It would appear to be clover, dammit... So it was an uncomfortable three and a bit hours for me, unable to breathe and with the eyes watering (of course, as soon as I left the park it all cleared up...)

But Kai did very well, all told. He would have won the egg and spoon (well, tennis-ball and spoon) race, but he dropped the ball just before the line and made third place instead. The sack race was a farce - don't know why the teachers decided to make him change from the sprint to that but he hadn't practised and they gave him a stupid little sack that came to just over his knees: he came next to last, I think. Ridiculous given what a sprinter he is: he runs everywhere and is very fast... So he was upset about both of those, for letting down his team. But then he was in the tug-of-war team event and they won both of their contests - and the blues were the overall winners (by one point) so it all turned out OK in the end. Even with the (grown-ups) cheating that went on!


He loved LaserQuest tonight, had a wonderful time and wants to go back tomorrow! And this is with him coming next to bottom in the individual free-for-all first game and bottom in the second team game... But his team (the greens) won by a substantial number of points, so that was alright too! Much fun was had by all. Me? I just enjoyed sitting quietly drinking pints (of water, that is) in the reception area while they battled.

And now I'm settling down to some FirstLight...!





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Monday, July 14, 2003

Whoa, busy day on the blogs!

Fairly busy here too - though I couldn't wake up this morning (getting to bed at gone 5.30 am didn't help of course...) so I was late getting into town and had to go collect Kai straight from the bus. Well, via Sainsbury's.

And it's too hot.

Quyn is a lot better, though - thanks to everyone who sent sympathy! - still limping but we'd expect that. The rawness has all healed up already and I can't see anything there, although it's still very sore so I haven't tried poking too hard. But I think we're in the clear.

Finally got the backed-up films developed! I took of Kai in his new shades, under the eucalyptus tree in the garden, about a month and a half ago. Such a cool kid! (The tee-shirt was the one Windlily sent him last Yule.)

[Transplanted from Talon's Nursery]:

Sazuki keeps pacing and throwing dirty looks your way...*grins* wants to know what you're up to with the second Gremlins story.

Heh, well, I'm planning to do two slightly different versions, one for the main site and one for the Zone (no prizes for guessing which version will be posted where!) I'm a couple of pages into the chapter now: sorry, no idea when I'm going to be able to finish it, but I'm hoping not too long...

Onna, no frantic rush for the pics, I don't want to hurry your page (and I need to learn how to use the PS6 software to make the gallery first, anyway!) Concentrate on getting better for now.

Re: the FirstLight cover (now finished and everything I'd hoped for)... This is the cover for the first volume in the Haadri cycle, designed for publication, the first book in a series that I'm hoping will make money (as in enough to try to live on, because non-fiction surely doesn't...). I'm afraid that means that with just a couple of exceptions - those people who are actively involved with proof- and pre-reading for me - nobody gets to see it until just before the book is published, at which point I'll post a small version here, and on the Haadri site, and on the WordWrights site, and anywhere else I can think of to promote the book, and Valkyrie will post it to her online portfolio as well. Quite simply we don't want to risk the idea or the artwork being ripped off (by making it available online before publication, I mean). A number of people will be getting signed copies in advance of it hitting the bookshops, of course (I think you know who you all are!), but until then, sorry, you'll need to be patient. And nag me to get the manuscript revised and finished and out to agents/publishers as soon as possible!

I think there's something up with the Bristol WeatherPixie (well, the instrument at Briz airport that feeds the site its info, anyway). Been stuck on 17 degrees for over 2 days now, while the temperature today hit 26 and is due to touch 30 tomorrow. School races in blazing heat - what fun....





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[happy happy sigh] I can't see me getting much more done tonight, Valkyrie's just emailed the first colour version of the FirstLight cover...

I am completely in awe of her skill and talent with colour and tone and light and shadow. The picture's so close to perfect it's scary - and it's so very very beautiful, the colours rich and intense and jewel-like. She's even somehow made the irises of Kaz' eyes look like quicksilver (which is how they're supposed to look in case anyone was wondering.) There's no way I could ever have done this... Heh, got a lump in my throat when I opened it and just sat gazing and feeling emotional for a while before I could drag myself away and actually answer the email!

It's very strange sitting looking at a character I 'created' twenty years ago gazing back at me. It's very wonderful.

Thank you, Valkyrie...





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Sunday, July 13, 2003

[wince] Well, I think we've sorted Quyn out: between us we managed to pull a half-inch of pointed, barbed grass seed out of his paw (ever heard a dog scream?). He's still limping, but it's not the awful 'can't even put the paw to the ground' three-legged hobble we had earlier - and once he'd stopped furiously licking at the wound he relaxed and started smiling again (of course, the doggie chocolate drops we gave him helped!). With a bit of luck we won't need the vet - I'll check in the morning, of course, but hopefully that's it. I'll just have to get into the habit of checking his pads every day...

[smirk] Have started writing Gremlins 2 - Convention (based on an idea by onna)...





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[sigh] Wild gardens and long haired dogs don't mix...

We noticed Quyn was limping on Thursday, so I had him lie on his back while I trimmed the fur from between his pads and we had a good look - sure enough he had several grass seeds trying to work their way into his skin between his toes. So with tweezers and torch we got out everything we could see and cut off as much fur as possible (to make it easier to inspect and treat if - heh, when - it happens again). And he was much happier and cheerfully charged around the garden afterwards. Then today he was limping again...

He wouldn't let Ken near his foot this time, so I had to hold him to have a look (Quyn is really my dog: I'm the alpha in the family [smirk] like that's going to surprise anyone!) - although I can't see any seeds, he's managed to lick the pad raw and there's some pus, too, so it may be that we missed something, though I'd have sworn we got everything. Of course, these things always happen on a Saturday when the only vets' appointments to be had are for life-threatening emergencies only, so we can't do anything about it until Monday. It's obviously very painful - he's limping bady - but he's otherwise healthy and we know from past experience he normally heals quickly. I'll try a salt water soak tomorrow (marginally easier on a dog than on a cat!) and have another look, but I don't want to poke around in case I make things worse. Poor pooch.

And despite staying up til daylight I did sod all last night, and very restful it was too! Actually that's not strictly true, I worked on Purgatory with Reshenna in ICQ, and finished the second Saturday section, which was very satisfying.

I've also managed to get the basics drawn for a new picture while my computer was being hijacked (and since it's going to happen again tomorrow I might get it finished!) Also been trying to get to grips with the next Transposition chapter (the Chekov/Zaabon chapters are always more difficult than the Sulu/Radittsu ones, since I know exactly where I'm going with the latter but the former is still springing surprises on me.) Will see how it goes...

Bit of a busy week next week. School sports day on Tuesday (Kai's in the sprint and the egg and spoon race, he tells us, have to go along and take photos) and in the evening he's off to a schoolfriend's birthday treat at LaserQuest - thoroughly looking forward to that! I'm behind with the BRISTAL newsletter (again) and I haven't finished trudging through the latest review book yet either ([sigh] how can anyone make what should be a really exciting story so bloody dull?) And of course I shall be wrestling with FirstLight some more too: I want that recalcitrant second chapter done by the end of the week. After that everything will be that much easier. Yes, honestly, it will...





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Friday, July 11, 2003

YAY! 'Saru's found a way to update her blog!!

It's always good to hear about how things are going. Congratulations on getting your Iaido Shoudan belt! [Told you you could do it!]. Not so good news about Chuutan School for Handicapped Children. I do sympathise; I can honestly say I have some idea how you feel, having grown up with a Downes Syndrome elder brother. But think of the good you're doing, broadening the children's horizons and experiences... That has to be a good thing, ne?

Dropped into one of our favourite second hand shops on the way home, Bristol Cats' Charity. One of the male volunteers there makes the most gorgeous absolutely unique cards, which I've started buying and putting back for birthdays etc. Anyway, found a couple of things for Kai's art projects, and as I was paying I glanced at the display under the glass counter-top. There was a little ceramic unicorn there, creamy-coloured with a golden horn and hooves, a foal lying down. I don't really collect unicorns any more - got to the stage where I had nowhere to put them! - but this one... I had a look, and honestly it has to be the grumpiest unicorn in existence! It has a real - "what the f**k 're you lookin' at?" - expression on its face: I had to buy it...

I can't decide what to do tonight. Made out a list of everything I have on the go right now and nearly gave myself kittens - I'm supposed to be cutting down on projects, not taking on more! I have two unfinished pieces sitting on the hard drive at the moment, for Dystopia and for Fugitive, but I've switched out of torture mode for the time being, feel more in a lemon mood after Abscond and Addiction. Like writing the next 'lestrel & Lutra chapter (FullMoon, always fun!), or the next couple of Transposition chapters. On the other hand, certain gremlins are getting a little... obstreperous, nagging for the next part of their story...

I'm sure I'll think of something!





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Thursday, July 10, 2003

[blink] Miracles still happen!

Went to bed at just gone 3am. Was still awake gone 4am. Then flaked out and didn't wake up til 11.15am!! Seven hours sleep? Must be a record!
Generally speaking I don't do online quizzes - unless they look particularly interesting, and this one, clipped from Talon's Nursery, did, the picture intrigued me... My result from the Jokku Gender Test.

[edit 2013 - can't find the damned thing!]

I went to take a peek at the Jokku site - looks fascinating! I've bookmarked for reading wIhash [when I have a spare haddock].

Lovely photos of Ripley, Talon!

Lutra had me in stitches earlier with something she found on a Pros list...

Go HERE (edit 2013 - alas, no longer exists...), type in 'weapons of mass destruction' as the search string and hit the [I'm feeling lucky] button. Carefully read the page that results! (I'm still howling!) Oh, and once you're there, try clicking on the links for an even bigger laugh...

After several requests for CCO808 fics, I've started writing Addiction. Hoping to have it ready to post with Lutra's next Dystopia chapter - Second Chance - within the next 24 hours...

(Carol, Sue, Saru, Windlily, Ken, Lutra, Valkyrie etc - yes I am also working on FirstLight, honestly! )

Half-inched from Valkyrie's LJ:-

where does time go and if I catch the little bugger who steals it, I'm gonna knock his bleeding block off!

Ack, nooooooo! [visions of haddock-stealing gremlin now insisting on being drawn!]

Whoever invented sleep is a sadistic sod.

Yeah. Let's hunt 'em down and torture 'em...

More seriously, symps re the finances. We know what that's like....





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Wednesday, July 09, 2003

[sigh] So I tried to nap (sorry I had to drop out of ICQ so abruptly Thorne, couldn't keep my eyes open) and ended up not being able to fall asleep...

Came down to find Kai returned from zoo trip and scouring Google for pictures of large spiders. I mean tarantula and bird-eating spider sized spiders. (Yes, OK, the bird-eating spider is a kind of tarantula...) The other day he asked me if he could have a spider as a pet - I think he has his eye on one of these monstrous beasties. I said no, of course - over and above the fact I think keeping pets, especially exotic ones, in cages or tanks is cruel, I do not want large spiders in the house. I don't know, other kids ask for rabbits or hamsters (*ick*), mine wants a tarantula... Mind you, I have vague memories of wanting a six-foot boa constrictor when I was his age, so maybe it runs in the family...

Abscond coded and uploaded. I like this chapter, it was enormous fun to write!






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[grumble] I can't sleep. Been trying to catch up a little and failing dismally. Result is I'm permanently tired (I mean tired as in it feels as though there's a wall between me and the outside and everything's fuzzy round the edges...) and everything's taking longer than it should...

I am gobsmacked and completely awed by Valkyrie's talent and skill. Remember I emailed all that FirstLight info on Friday? On Monday (1.14 am my time) she sent me back the first sketch, which while good, wasn't quite what I wanted. I emailed back detailing the things that needed changing - and at 20.47 she emailed a second sketch that was damn near perfect! Spent some of yesterday sorting out tweaks, and now it's ready to colour... It's absolutely beautiful!

Kai's on a school trip to the zoo today, and taking a packed lunch - his request, two ham sandwiches, a little bag of lettuce, tomato and cucumber, a banana, bag of Quavers [spit spit Walkers] and two Fruesli bars. I mention this because he commented on the way into school that he wondered how many other sprogs would have salad in their lunches. Which seemed a propos of nothing, until he followed it up by saying that everyone at school knows broccoli is his favourite veg, so they'll be surprised he doesn't have any in his lunchbox... [shakes head bemusedly] No wonder his school friends find him a little... unusual...

Wrote Abscond, the next AC chapter, last night. Didn't actually mean to, but it kind of insisted, so I switched to autopilot and just let it flow.

Will code/upload later, if I can get my brain around anything so rational... dammit, I think I'll have to try to nap in a while, I'm not going to accomplish much today unless I get some sleep (and no, I can't nap right now, the mane's still wet from the shower).

And I've had a request for more CCO808 fics from a Zone member, which hopefully will kick me into writing the two that have been back-boilering for the last however long it is...





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Sunday, July 06, 2003

So much for straightforward projects...

Jude thinks she handed over all the registration etc to a friend of hers who has now left London and with whom she's no longer in touch: the other person involved thinks that the friend was actually hosting the site and having the domain name simply point there (I have vague memories of this being a common procedure way back when I first got involved with the Internet...) and when his site folded, so did Jude's. I know I can't ftp to it. So tomorrow I have to ring Fasthosts and try to find out exactly what the situation is and try to re-register...

And to cheer me up, it appears that a Professionals piece I wrote ages ago, intended to be a 'hidden' chapter to one of the three sequels I planned to write for Seeds, has made it onto the slash CD (and possibly with someone else's name attached to it.) It's very unlikely I gave permission for this, I rarely allow my work to be posted elsewhere and then only with my express permission (in writing). I now have the hassle of chasing this up as well. All sorted - a misunderstanding...

Still, our Big Dig made it onto the front page of our local paper, which is fun - except that Ken instructed them not to print the address and they half did (left off the road number)...

[bemused] It's fascinating what Ken's genealogical researches throw up. We've known for a year or two that he's related to Eddie Izzard on his mum's side (they're cousins of some description): we've now found out that he's also related to John Cleese on his dad's side! Not that we've ever met either person or have any driving wish to do so, but it's interesting all the same.

There are no famous people on my side of the family - that we've discovered, anyway. So I suppose I'll just have to be the first! [smirk]





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Saturday, July 05, 2003

I rather like shopping in Sainsbury's supermarket on the way home from school on a Friday. Most of the staff know us there now (they should, we go in at least once a day to grab basics, milk, bread etc!) and the women behind the deli counter love Kai. Two of them in particular think he's just adorable, and give him tastes of cheeses every time we shop. It was a nice chunk of Red Leicester yesterday, one of his favourites.

And his Big Dig effort got a mention in the school newsletter!

Follow up to previous comments... I've given up on Firefly. Watched it to ep 8 but couldn't really get into it; although the characters are interesting, I don't find any of them particularly attractive... But The Sentinel has me hooked! I worked out why, too, it has the same feel-good factor as the A-Team, another old programme I really enjoyed (essentially Robin Hood transplanted to 20th century USA) - Sentinel has the same improbable plots, and the most wonderful banter (sorry Prosfans, funnier and cuter than Bodie and Doyle in my opinion...), and the interelationships between the main characters make them feel like family. Blair just gets more and more adorable, and he and Ellison are perfectly matched... Fine fun stuff, exactly the sort of h/c, violent fluff I need to relax to!

LittleSaru sent me over her latest, Afternoon in the Burning Sun, a fabulous piece of writing that I'm now very proudly hosting in the Zone. 'Saru's writing just gets better and better with each new story. And Onna has written a beautiful little Gravitation piece which I have permission to host, too - hoping to get that coded and posted soon.

And Valkyrie - brave soul - is having a go at the cover for FirstLight! I'm absolutely chuffed to bits and very excited - I love her work. (Heh, and I've inundated her with far more information than she really needs, I think... Picky, me...)





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Friday, July 04, 2003

... and come the end Trillian even crashed Eudora, not allowing me to close it down except with a cntrl/alt/del. Luckily (learning from long and very bitter experience) I'd set a restore point before installing Trillian, and for the first time ever had to use it. About the only thing XP has going for it... As far as I can tell my settings are all now restored to normal. fanfiction.net loads, and I can post to Talon's chatbox.

Will email a report to Cerulean Studios tomorrow.

Very disappointed. But it was worth a try, and for a moment there I really thought it was going to work...

Ah well.





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Trillian also crashes fanfiction.net - though whether that's a bad thing or not I've yet to decide....





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[sigh] OK - Trillian doesn't work with flooble even when closed... Doesn't work with older versions of ICQ either... But for everything else it seems fine, so far...

And I like it. I like having the flexibility, being able to run all messaging systems from one interface. It's great! If I could just find my old mIRC nick and password I'd add that too!





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Thursday, July 03, 2003

Interesting...

I've just installed Trillian to see if I can overcome the problem I have using AIM. (I'll rephrase that. After the horror stories I've heard about the spyware and registry nasties AOL dump into the machine when you use their software - and the hideously embarrassing problems I had the one time I tried using their IM - I will NOT touch AOL with the traditional bargepole. (Or even a 10 metre cattleprod.) To stay in touch with friends who don't have ICQ I got myself an account with AIMExpress, which is apparently completely incompatible with XP and hangs or crashes every time I try to use it. Trillian is supposed to solve this. We'll see...) I've managed to import my ICQ contact list - just waiting for someone to message me now to see if it works - and everything else seems to be OK, except for the flooble chatbox on Talon's blog, which now crashes Internet Explorer if I try to add to it. I assume it's a software conflict: I'll have to see if it continues once I've closed Trillian for the night. But in the meantime I can't use the chatbox! Sorry Talon....





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Heh, been a bit of a hectic week...

Jude (of Choice Cards, edit 2013: now defunct) asked me to set up another site for her - less work involved in this one as she has all the copy ready, just need to tidy up the logo. However, although she has the domain name, she didn't actually register it herself, so I've spent some time this morning chasing round trying to get the information I need from other people. Should be OK, as long as it's all sent to me, as agreed, in the next few days. The problem is the registration is due to expire on the 18th, so I need to have everything in place and the registration renewed by then...

On Tuesday I went to visit another client to help with another two sites she wanted - again, straightforward, just a matter of setting everything up so she can run them herself. Effectively took less time than the two hour walk there and back! (Heh, I need the excercise...)

Perturbation is finished and with Lutra, awaiting her confirmation as to a few details, but it doesn't look like she's going to get online today, so sorry folks, I'm afraid you'll have to wait a little longer...

Talon - re: length of time - no problem, I always assume things are going to take at least as long again as they're supposed to so hadn't expected any response. I had to try for an early night anyway since Jude was arriving early.

Had another browse through the Haadri files and found a pic I started of Lasq (one of the alien characters) over a year ago! My style's changed since, but it's not that bad a picture, I suppose. Might even use it on the site eventually...

Time to get ready to collect bratling...





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[taking a brief break to rest fingers...] Somewhat to my surprise, I'm now six pages into Perturbation (the next AC) and it's all going swimmingly. Hoping to have it just about finished before I close down in a few hours.

Lutra and I were ICQ-ing earlier about Dystopia and Jackson [spit snarl rend] and how the whole pet phenomenon came to be. Absolutely fascinating and at least one backstory and a future case has come out of it. I'm also leaning towards a follow-up to Angelfish (sorry, I'm still in torture mode, and I'd rather not inflict any harm on The Family right now, there's plenty of angst brewing for them as it is [heheheheheh])

I need to get as much done as possible before Kai breaks up for the summer, as the long holiday cuts down my writing time a bit (not as much as I always anticipate, going by the last few years) and I do seriously want to try to complete a drawing a day if I possibly can [ignores the quiet Heh, who are you trying to fool?...]. And THEN I shall be making a dedicated effort to get the final draft of FirstLight finished. I have nine new chapters to write, ones which will have a considerable bearing on other books in the cycle so I need to get them right, and the entire manuscript to revise; there are still a few sections I'm not happy with. I've promised myself it will be finished by the time Kai goes back to school in September... [smiles sweetly at Sue, most magnificent proofreader, editor and critic... OK by you?] I'm also looking for a cover illustration (much rather provide my own than have an in-house graphic-manipulator drag together something blandly generic). I know exactly what I want: it's a matter of persuading someone to do it for me, since I don't have the graphic skill or the time to learn for something this important.

OK - I've said it in public.
Now I HAVE to do it or I'll never be allowed to live it down!

This doesn't mean I shall stop writing for the Zone or the Darkside, of course, just that I won't be able to post quite as often as usual for a while. Though that being said, if all goes well you might not even notice any difference. Fingers crossed...

Talon, hope the infusion went well. Thinking of you.

Clones! I need clones! Send in the clones!...





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Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Multi-taskers 'R' Us...

[bemused] There's a certain amusement value to be had from writing 2 separate Purgatory threads via email with three other people, working on an AC chapter, adding to the chatbox, and plotting Dystopia with Lutra on ICQ - all at the same time...





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Tuesday, July 01, 2003

So that was DBGT....

Why, precisely, don't people like it?

It has so much going for it. Definitely tasty young adult Torankusu and Goten, and Pan is a treat, by far the most dynamic and appealing female character in (what I have seen of) the DB phenomenon, even if she is an irritating little brat some of the time. Chichi-bashing by both of her sons - admittedly they weren't exactly in their right minds at the time, but nevertheless... (Spot the Chichi hater. Actually, does anyone like Chichi?) A deliciously evil Bebi-Vejiita (loved the hair!), much more to my taste than the Majin variety. A Goku whose character is (ye gods!) consistent - mostly - and whom I really, really liked (I can't bear the DBZ Goku, always want to slap him) - and the rough friendship between Goku and Vejiita is actually believable here. The plot is no less implausible than DBZ, but the story lacks those mind-numbingly boring, episodes-long fights that sent me to sleep in Z. Much of the animation and character design is better than Z (I commented to Lutra that the bodies were certainly better drawn)...

And as for SSJ4... Phwoooarrrrr!!!

You can keep the other levels, I'll take 4, thank you very much. Talk about sexy! And I don't even like body hair...

Then there's that 'equal and opposite reaction' (every time the dragonballs were used to make a wish for good it stored up negative - evil - energy, which finally emerges to threaten everything) which is such an inescapable reality in both nature and magic. The reliance on the dragonballs to make everything alright again always annoyed me: it never mattered if characters died (or the odd planet was destroyed) because they/it could always be wished back. Too much reliance on external forces, always a bad thing - leads to a laissez-faire attitude to life. So of course I agreed with Shenron at the end... (I am of course assuming that the dub was fairly accurate, which is perhaps not sensible, but that's all I have to go on.)

And as for Goku's fate... well, what else could possibly have happened to him, after all, the character who'd become a legend? He certainly couldn't have gone on living as a normal ningen! As far as I'm concerned the end is perfect, giving a happy hopeful glimpse into the future for the families, and more importantly leaving the whole epic open for continuation with a whole new generation and a reincarnated hero. (No, I'm not going to write it. I have my hands full enough with the Alliance Chronicles.)

There were a few less than wonderful moments of course. I wasn't too impressed with Vejiita's hair, and some of the dialogue was as embarrassing as in Z. There were a few too many robots, perhaps, and the conclusion was maybe a little too similar to the end of the Furiizaa Saga. But on the whole I preferred it to DBZ...

Kai disagrees vehemently. He says DBZ is more exciting and longer, and to some extent he's right: DBZ seems to be geared more to a younger, maybe less discriminating audience. I've never particularly liked it - some of the characters, yes, very much so, that's why I write fanfic - but not the anime itself. Mind you, the dub had a lot to do with that...

[snarl] And I've just found out Jeice's eyes are green. [sigh] Ah well, it's not the first time I've got a detail wrong. I'm sure I'll find a way round it...





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[sigh] ClaraNET's mail server is down for maintenance: I can't send or receive mail at the moment. There's no note to say how long it will last... Will get back to everyone when I can!





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